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zyxe Blog

Farewell, Heroes

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City of Heroes officially shut down its servers on November 30, 2012, after a run of over 8 years. The game was one of the more unique MMORPGs in that it was not built in the fantasy world but rather the present, and involved highly customizable super heroes, missions, archvillains and a large and relatively loyal community; and while the game takes place in the present, you were free to create any sort of character--fantasy, mech, scientific, futuristic or pretty much anything your heart desired. This blog is about my personal journey into the realm of MMORPGs, and explains why I really don't feel like I will miss the game all that much.

I joined the game in February of 2007. I actually remember getting the game in detail: I was biking home from work and I was really tired. I had always wanted to play Halo, and figured I should stop at the Gamestop at the half way point of my workout and pick it up. I took Halo up to the register and it turned out they were having a promotion for a free copy of City of Heroes with the purchase of any PC game, and I thought that was pretty neat so I grabbed that, too. It turned out to be a very defining moment in my life, and truth be told sometimes I wish I had never stopped at that game store that evening...

Haiiro Ninja gives Major Victory a lift

My "Who Wants to be a Superhero" Tryouts with Major Victory in 2007.

I had just tried out for "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" a few weeks prior (obviously I did NOT get in nor should I have with the awful tryout I gave), but I already had created my own superhero, Haiiro Ninja, and wanted to try that out in the game. As it turned out, the character creator was so detailed that I could absolutely make my character in the game, and that was really amazing. I remember logging in and entering Atlas Park, running around and figuring out the controls, not having been much of a PC gamer at the time.

Haiiro Ninja's Bio

Biography of my Main Toon, Haiiro Ninja.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game as it was unlike any other I'd ever played. I enjoyed the missions, the martial arts powers I had bestowed on my character and the community as a whole. It's almost embarassing to admit, but I met my (now ex-) boyfriend of 4 years on this game, he moved out to California and we were together for 4 years, and it did not end well (see my previous blogs). I quit the game about a year ago after only playing a little over the previous year, partly due to his addiction to it and being sick of his unhealthy relationship with several females on the game (see my previous blogs if you care to know more). So after he left, I still could not stand to play the game. And when I tried quite some time later, the developers had changed it so much it was not nearly as fun, and the magic was gone.

Still, there are things I will totally miss about the game, such as the character and base creation.

Haiiro Ninja

Haiiro Ninja: My Main Toon.

I really enjoyed the teaming aspect of the game and how you could ideally jump into a game with any toon, any level (of the same hero/villain alignment) and play. It was extremely group friendly, especially later as they revamped the sidekick/mentor and team/group/league systems. I grew very attached to my characters, as I saw them as an extention of different aspects of my own personallity, and enjoyed learning about how other people conduct themselves online, even if it sometimes disgusted or bewildered me; one thing I could usually say about the game was that it was "interesting" at the very least.

Spine O'Might (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW OF ALL CHARACTERS)

My More Current main Toon: Spine O'Might (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW OF ALL CHARACTERS).

I also enjoyed building bases. I had at least one hero and villain base on my two servers, Infinity and Freedom, and had started one on the VIP server, Exhaulted, before I really quit the game. The editor was a bit clunky, but it was still a fun and creative activity.

Vindicator Super Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW)

Vindicator Super Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW).

Darkest Days Villain Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW)

Darkest Days Villain Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW).

Silent Sentries Super Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW)

Silent Sentries Super Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW).

Infinity's Integrity Super Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW)

Infinity's Integrity Super Group Base, My First Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW).


Some games have a profound impact on your life, and I would have to say this one was that for me. Besides the terribly personal aspect, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, especially over the first year I played it. It was something to look forward to when the rest of like was ho-hum or difficult. It showed me how some people can portray themselves so vastly different from their true selves online (though that's an interesting question in itself, as to what your true self really is). Over the course of the years, however, the game changes really did have an overall negative impact with the severe changes in PvP in i13, then the F2P model that was just not great for a former subscriber like myself. The game was also reportedly still turning a profit when the doors were closed, which is very interesting.

I have tried Champions Online, DC Universe Online and looked into the upcoming Marvel game, and I have to say none of them so far have had the spirit and grab of City of Heroes. It is sad to not have much in the way of a viable alternative for those of us not entrenched in the world of elves and dragons and dwarves.

Other than that, I really don't know what else to say. End of an era, certainly, but maybe an era best left in the past.

-haiiro ninja, AKA zyxe

thanksgiving...(now with 200% more yum!)

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happy thanksgiving. i hope you all have something to be thankful for and loved ones to spend the day with. i will be heading to my good friend's home for a feast that for once i didn't have to cook, and then i'll spend the night and we're going to figure out some kind of light black friday event to take part in (probably some shopping with the gift cards i've been saving up). i never come to a dinner empty handed, so i baked a pumpkin swirl cheesecake from scratch:

pumpkin cheesecake

and then 5 more people were confirmed so i baked an apple pie:

apple pie

and then i had leftovers so i made an apple crumb pie for myself :D:

apple crumb pie

it's my first cheesecake so we'll have to see how it turned out. i also am bringing a fresh veggie tray with my own homemade ranch dip (i created the recipe over the summer) to add a bit of lighter fare to the menu.

be safe this holiday and enjoy what you have. as happy as this holiday is supposed to be, be mindful that it might be painful for those who have lost something or someone in the past year, they may find it difficult to chin up right now and may need an extra shoulder to lean on, especially with everyone else being busy with their own families and events.

take care and enjoy the turkey.

as for me, i plan on spending most of the weekend (once i get back and no driving is to be done) drinking and gaming :)

-z

belated halloween: samus (cosplay) extravaganza!

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Happy Belated Halloween, Gamespotters!

I thought it was fitting to post up my Halloween pics, along with the history of my costume. I started it before Halloween '04, and it took over a week of material reconnaissance, then a full month to build the prototype. It barely held together when my then boyfriend (dressed appropriately as Link) and I took my friend's kid trick-or-treating, after which I decided I could do MUCH, much better, learning how to use an airbrush to boot. I ended up shoring it up for a skit in my Japanese class in February 2005, and had a friend do a photoshoot:

Original Samus

Prototype Costume 2005 (click for slideshow)

After that, I set about remaking most of the costume for Halloween 2005. The only pieces I kept were the shoes, helmet and beam cannon.

Samus Halloween 2005 Remake

Halloween 2005 Rebuild (click for slide show)

This version was great, but I wore it to Fanime 2008 and it sustained severe battle damage, especially the shoulders which were the weakest part and hardest to figure out how to keep on. I couldn't get 10 steps without being mobbed for pictures, which was awesome but it made everything take forever and the suit wasn't meant to be worn for more than 2 hours at a time! The suit was also held together by kind of an elastic garter belt/harness that held up the upper legs while holding down the shoulders with velcro without attaching to the bike pants and tshirt underneath.

I spent a month remaking the shoulders, in between work trips, and figuring out a new method of attachment. The shoulders are now super sturdy and look more 3D, and they held up extremely well during the few hours I wore it:

New (top) and old (bottom) shoulders before detailing (click for construction slide show)

New (top) and old (bottom) shoulders before detailing (click for construction slide show)

I didn't get many pictures, but my friend got a few. I ended up staying up until 4:30am before Halloween finishing the details, then woke up at 9am to fix some reattachment issues. I only had time to wear it to the coffee shop (I go every day I'm not out for work, they were all looking forward to seeing it), then my office an hour away. Nobody else at the office dressed up, but my friend got pictures for me. I was so tired I even forgot to bring my own camera!

Samus 2012 (click for slide show)

Samus 2012 (click for slide show)

After I showed off in the office, it was too late to leave before hitting traffic, so Tracy, my friend and coworker, and I headed to Panera for dinner. I forgot to bring my dress cover up to wear over the body suit when I wasn't in suit, and there was nobody in the Panera really so I just went in with my suit and all the sewn on velcro and snaps. The ladies at the register politely asked what I was supposed to be, and I just explained that was just the undersuit of my costume and that my actual costume was in the trunk. So I showed them a picture, and what do you know but one of them was a huge Metroid fan! So I went back to my car and donned the costume in the parking lot, and came back and they took lots of pictures. That totally made my night :)

I will continue remaking various parts over the next few years. For next year, I want to lose 20 pounds (for many reasons) and it will wear much better, then I will remake the yellow body in a way that will allow for better movement. I also want to add the rib cage detailing, right now there is nothing covering my upper side, so you see too much of the black of the body suit. Maybe I'll even add some LEDs :)

Either way, this suit is here to stay!

Hope your Halloween was fun and exciting as well.

-z

vent blog: sexism and gaming (read at own risk)

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the blog below is just how i feel right now about how sexisn and gaming has been handled so far here on GS. i usually tailor my responses to be relatively professional and thoughtful, but i've had it. plus i'm traveling for work for the next two weeks, and that always puts me in a bad mood ;)

just deal with it, you say? well, this IS me dealing with it. :)

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i have been terribly disappointed by the way sexism and gaming has been handled on many levels here on GS, partly by the website but mostly by the ignorant commentors here. as a female AND a gamer, i have experienced first hand sexism and gaming, mostly pertaining to online forums or multiplayer gaming when playing with people i don't personally know, and by personally i mean those i would actually consider friends either online or off.while things have come around a bit when it comes to how females who game are treated by the online community, we still have a long way to go.

feminism isn't scary


MY GAMING BACKGROUND

i've been gaming for 25 years, since i was 7 years old. we didn't have many games, and always stuck with a nintendo console. i remember bringing the n64 to college with me, it was great. i didn't get into multiplayer until goldeneye on the n64, which was the best thing since sliced bread until perfect dark came out. i used to have guys from my engineering classes come over and we'd split screen it. i was pretty damn good, not tournament material but i could take on anyone i met in person. i even had a few friends set me up in friendly matches with someone they thought was the best and we'd all get together and they'd watch me and whoever play. those matches were typically close to even, which was pretty sweet.

i didn't even get my own computer until my 2nd year of college, and it was a while until i actually gamed on it. once getting into FPS with a mouse and keyboard, i had trouble going back to console controls--plus for some reason i had a crazy easy time with the C buttons of the n64 controller as opposed to the analogue C-stick of the newer consoles, but that's another story...

i didn't start playing games online until my introduction to steam and TFC about 5 or so years ago, and that's when i hit a brick wall of insanity when i started getting treated like crap simply because i am female. i never knew of the problem before because my friends weren't sexist and i didn't have any other girl friends who gamed.

the REAL joanna dark


MY ONLINE EXPERIENCES

to my surprise, there would be 3-4 boys on the servers who would constantly ask for sexual favors (yes i would mute them but then they would log off and come back on and i would have to mute them again and again), tell me to stop pretending i was a girl and "show them proof" that i am a girl (in their dreams), or even continually berate me and call me all sorts of names or fat, including an attention-whore, for simply using my mic to relay game-related strategic information, which is pretty much all i would do with the mic. and yes, i do have my picture as my avatar, but who cares? i like me, and it's not any kind of seductive pic, it's just me and who i am. why is that a problem?

the worst i had was someone who started stalking me across several websites since i use this tag wherever possible, and finally he threatened me in a PM, so i could report him and have him banned and i think the site even was supposed to alert the police or threaten that, something more serious than just a ban because it finally shut him up whereas before he would just make a new ID and keep harassing me.

what i've learned from this is that a lot of people (no, not ALL) think that if you're a well-adjusted female, then you aren't a good gamer, and if you're a good gamer, you can't be a normal and well-adjusted feminine female; either way, something has to be wrong with you because you can't be both in their minds.

thoughts


THE CURRENT ISSUES AND AGGRAVATIONS

anyway, it doesn't happen quite as often anymore but that's partly because i don't game online as much or when i do, i play on known servers or with friends. i can't say that's because of my harassment, i'm really not sure but it could have something to do with the diminishing appeal of online gaming. even though i am confident in myself and like me, i would be lying if i said that being harassed doesn't phase me AT ALL, and i'm sure it has had a subconsious effect on me and how much i enjoy online gaming.

but what has really upset me recently is the handling of sexism and gaming and what's gone on here at GS. i have really appreciated the articles that GS has posted, but the majority of comments are horrific. the argument for those who hate any article that even acknowledges the possibility that a problem exists are typically as follows:

  1. there is no problem, stfu.
  2. maybe there's a small issue, but just deal with it.
  3. females DO suck at gaming. true story, bro.
  4. if you don't like it, don't play online games.
  5. you should hide your gender, if you let us know that you're a female, then you're an attention whore that deserves to be mistreated.
  6. here go you women again, wanting to be put on a pedestal for gaming. stop talking about this, period.
  7. bringing up sexism in gaming only perpetuates it.

to which come my responses:

  1. just because you haven't experienced this, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. i think most of the people who say this choose not to see it, though there are some people who really haven't seen it, and that's good because hopefully the problem is lessening over time. but that still doesn't mean it doesn't happen and that it's not a valid thing to talk about.
  2. just deal with it? there ARE ways to deal with it, but when it happens so often it becomes cumbersome and that's when we need to work on the problem together as a community. most people who say this only do so because they don't want to be bothered to realize their actions affect others, and they don't want to change because they are scared or lazy. well, we don't live in a bubble, our actions DO affect others. own up to that.
  3. you're an idiot if you think this. it may be that you've had a lot of negative experiences with femals and lack of skill, and i get why you would make that mental assumption, but the problem lies in when you don't let a female prove otherwise before sinking your teeth in. everyone has first impressions and stereotypes in our minds, but letting them make our decisions for us is when they become damaging.
  4. again, this is someone who thinks they live in a bubble and is too lazy to care. pathetic.
  5. wtf? now i DO know that some people ARE attention whores, but to assume i am because i am fine with being a female is stupid. i don't go around telling people "OMG LOOK AT ME I'M A FEMALE GAMER", but i don't hide it, either. it simply is.
  6. yes, some women want to be put on pedestals, but in my ideal world, we would actually be given equal opportunities to prove ourselves. as a disclaimer, i am proud to be a female and a gamer because when i started it WAS sort of rare, and it was fun not being stereotypical. i don't expect to be put on a pedestal because of it, though, it's just a nifty fact about me, like i'm an engineer and did years of martial arts training.
  7. probably the dumbest argument i've heard. since when did change occur by doing NOTHING? yeah, we totally would have gotten the right to vote by sitting there and ignoring the issue. by discussing these issues, we can find others who have experienced similar things in life, and we know we're not alone and can share our experiences and understand what the root of the issue is.

the last straw i have is the whole GS chalk talk bologna. in full disclosure, i did submit my blog and it was not chosen, but that's not what really irked me. what got me fuming is that out of all the blogs chosen, NOT ONE WRITER had experienced sexism in gaming. EVER. and there was at least one other blogger who had her own experiences, i would have been happy if they had chosen hers. it's a lot like the chalk talk on violence in video games where all blogs had very similar views, where violence wasn't that big an issue to anyone. i don't expect GS to be a moderator for morals, but seriously if you want a section debating topics, why you would not choose various viewpoints is beyond me.

Kals_troll_blog.jpg


FINALE

the good news is that there are a lot of gamers out there for which sexism isn't an issue in that they give everyone a chance. and of course there are more issues online in gaming like racism, my post isn't discounting that. i just don't understand how so many people think that being horrible to others online is acceptable for their own entertainment, and that it's fine to say things online that you wouldn't dare say to someone's face.

and it's not just boys, i've been trolled by females so desperate to fit in with the guys and be "one of them" that they berate other females for being at all feminine and casting the same judgements their male counterparts do on other females who game. that's extremely pathetic.

now, people don't have to agree with the severity of the issue, but to berate others for trying to make a change only shows your own insecurity and how scared you are of that change. you don't have the right to be a jackass online if it's against the forum's terms of use in which you're expressing that jackassery. grow up and learn some respect.

for those kinds of jackasses, i'm pretty sure this is what you'll come to find out if you don't:

locked

-z

A Call to Arms... for Breasts!

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Pink xbox controller


Aretha Franklin put it best when she belted out her 1967 hit, "Respect":

What guns you want, baby I got. What frags you need, do you know I got it. All I'm askin' is for a little respect when I sign on.

Ok, so maybe that's not exactly what she sang, but I know it's on a lot of female gamers' minds when they sign on to do some gaming online. Serious female gamers run a high risk of immediately being discounted, mocked or berated in online gaming simply because they are female. It's time for the general population of male gamers online to grow up and knock it off.

This isn't about females demanding to be heralded as some golden angel for simply picking up a controller, this is about not being automatically judged as inferior gamers for no reason other than they are female, or for being called attention whores for using the mic where it's appropriate, like for relaying strategic information to your team. It's not a call to elevate female gamers above others or asking for preferential treatement, although I would argue that the bar of how ALL players are treated should be raised.

Why would you say something to someone online that you wouldn't say in person? I believe that your online conduct is more telling of your personal integrity than how you conduct yourself in person where you are often forced to face the consequences of your actions and cannot simply log off.

As you may have guessed from my profile picture that *gasp* I am a female gamer. I came out of the kitchen in 1987 at the age of 7 when my dad brought home an NES for my older siblings and me. I still remember my dad letting us play before school (how awesome is that?!) and being the first one to get to the underground area of the first level in Super Mario Bros. The sense of accomplishment, along with beating my two older siblings, shown on my face the whole day and made a real impression on me. While I can't game nearly as much as I did as a kid, I consider myself to be a serious gamer to this day 25 years later.


perfect dark N64


I started off as a console girl and moved through the Nintendo systems up through the GameCube, when I also got a PS2 and a PC capable of gaming. Up through my N64 days, I had only ever played with people I knew personally, almost exclusively guys from my engineering classes. We'd have several nights a week where they would come over and we'd duke it out over Goldeneye 007 or Perfect Dark (one of my favorite FPS to date). But something changed when I got into online--I noticed that more often than not I was treated like a second class citizen by guys.

Now, before you get your briefs in a bunch, hear me out. I'm not talking about ALL male gamers--there are a nice handful that are respectful of women, and perhaps more than I give credit to since the sounds of all the sophomoric boys outshine the maturity of this select group--but more often than not, there will be guys in online games will treat a woman horribly by berating her verbally, asking her for sexual favors or griefing her in game. I have experienced all of this first-hand. A good portion of the time when I used to play TF2 on Steam and I joined a new-to-me server, the first time I would use my mic I would be greeted with people harassing me, thinking I was going to be a horrible player or telling me to STFU or telling me to stop pretending to be a female. Also, if I AM a female gamer, it must mean I'm fat and ugly, too. Basically, in their minds, there is no way I can be a decent gamer AND a well-adjusted female; and if I am a gamer girl, there has to be something seriously wrong with me.


cross-dressing-fail-new-chinese-mmo-prev


Serious gamer girls should get respect, just like any good gamer guy.

The real problem is how to reach the general population of guys who act in such a manner--they act this way because they simply do not care and do not think it affects anyone. So, this blog falls on deaf ears to those who should hear it the most. Of course, these people are insecure about themselves and their interactions with women online and off (can we say mommy issues?), turning the most potentially desirable women into something completely undesirable since this type of guy has trouble getting a girlfriend, but that's another blog for another day...

Thankfully, there IS something you good guys out there can do: support your fellow female gamers! Now, I'm not saying we all need to be protected, and I DEFINITELY agree there are some attention-you-know-what's out there that actually ask for it (no, I mean they literally ask for it, wanting to cyber and send naughty pictures and stuff), but when you see a gamer girl just racking up the head count and trying to chill out getting harrassed, it never hurts to lend a hand and tell the moron to STFU and let him know that other guys don't find it cool or manly. You don't even have to say anything to the girl or focus more attention on her, you can pretty much leave her out of it and focus on the jerk's behavior.

Mysogyny should NOT be expected, although it IS expected, but only because it has long been the standard. I refuse to simply get over it, though I rarely let it keep me from playing. I'll be able to let it go when me being a female is a non-issue, when I can play online for a few days in a row without the fact that I'm a female being brought to the forefront of the server chatter. Until then, good guys, keep abreast of female gamers' plight... I'll keep two.

;)

hollow footsteps

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her body was weightless for a few moments, though it felt like an eternity. suddenly she felt the earth hit her knees, then her hands and chest. she could smell the earth rise up, then felt it settle around and over her.

she awoke to a bright light staring at her through her closed eyes. at first she winced, turning her head to the side, slowly opening one eye a sliver, then the other. the bright white was blinding for a few seconds, dimming to reveal a small room. her senses came back one by one; she smelled the musty wood frame of the room, felt her body sinking into the matt underneath her and noticed her mouth was dry and bitter. she heard the sound of the wind blowing through the fields and drifting through the window to her side.

then there were footsteps.

the footsteps rang through the small structure, gradually getting louder. they were filled with such purpose yet were strangely liesurely. stopping for a moment. she heard some low-pitched mumble, and the scattering of much smaller footsteps away. it was the sound of life. recognizing the room put her at ease. it was that of her neighbor's, a robust old lady with fear of neither God nor beast who always had an open ear and mouthful of stories and advice. some might have seen the old woman as a motherly figure, but there was so much life, love and pain in her eyes that she was more of a comrade.

as the footsteps returned towards their initial goal, a wave of memories swept over her--the forest, the battles, the never ending exhaustion and desperation along with the weight of a thousand worlds on her shoulders. and, of course, the emptiness when that weight was gone. and that's where it left her, with nothing but her memories that were so private, she wasn't even sure they had ever happened; but then the pulsing of the pain in her head told her differently.

it DID happen. even if she was alone, it happened. she had battled those that would steal the life from her world in the depths of hell and won.

it didn't change their lives; nothing she'd gone through made a difference. but wasn't that the point? to ensure the continuity of the life her people--neighbors, relatives and friends--as they knew it?

she decided to try and get up and great the footsteps with her own, so she slid carefully out of bed and put her big toe onto the cold dirt floor. testing her strength, she gradually slid the whole foot onto the ground and pushed herself upwards off the corner of the mat. the blood rushed to her head while she staved off the darkness and took her first steps since she had fallen.

what she heard chilled her heart, and there was emptiness in her belly that was more than hunger. her footsteps were that of a ghost: hollow and without purpose. she kept walking, though, partly because she wanted to get away from that bed and the memories and partly because she didn't know what else to do but move forward.

and she wondered if the hollowness would leave her footsteps to let them once again be filled with life.

engineer roll call

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i had to go to a rendering plant for work today (i will let you google what that is, because it's not for the squeamish!). it was about a 2 hour drive south, and the people running the place are super neat and do a great job. here's me in the ladies room after washing up following our site walkthrough, before sitting down to discuss how things were going:

engineer

i'm hoping photobucket resizes it like i TOLD IT TO HALF AN HOUR AGO.

*ahem*

anyway i just thought i looked the part and it was pretty funny! and don't worry, i showered already. that smell really gets into your pores, hair and clothes.

*phew* :oops:

any other engineers out there, aspiring or accomplished? (MS in mechanical and aeronautical here!)

-zyxe

Where's My Cookie?

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where's my cookie?achievement


About a month or so ago, I had settled down for an evening of fun with a solo run of Borderlands (PC). And let me tell you, FPS Doug would have been proud: BOOM, headshot...BOOM, headshot...... BOOM, HEADSHOT!!! Running through the world with my sniper rifle and an enemy in my sights (I might have run faster holding a knife, but that's beside the point), eviscerating bandits left and right. While racking up my kill count, I decided I should probably continue on with the story. Pulling up my HUD revealed that I had a new mission on the Trash Coast. Not having been there yet, it sounded pleasant enough, so I checked my map and proceeded onward. I clicked on the transition point between zones, and once the new zone loaded, I got the "Achievement Unlocked: Discovered Trash Coast" pop up from Steam letting me know that I had, well, achieved something, and that I apparently should be applauded, recieve a medal and have this accomplishment posted on my page for all to see. Because, you know, the loading page saying "Trash Coast" wasn't enough to let me know I had, quite literally, arrived.

heashot from theoddnsimple.blogspot.com

But what about my headshots? My eviscerations of the enemy, my smooth crit skills and melee face stabs? What do they all mean when mixed with these lackluster, "I played the story, yay!" achievements? Mixing skill-based achievements with story-based achievements waters down the sense of accomplishment for all achievements across the board.

Instant gratification is the way of the world these days. People want what they want now, not later, and they want to be acknowledged now, not later. This has become abundantly apparent through the take off of various technologies like texting and email, along with social networking "look at me" sites who shall remain nameless at this time (but you know who you are!) putting information at the hands of consumers when they want it, along with instant validation and attention. Gamers are no exception and also want gratification and acknowledgement from their fellow gamers, and this is taken into account by developers via in-game achievements.

The idea behind achievements is two fold: one, it gives the gamer gratification that they did something cool in game and gives them their own gold star, and two, it is usually combined with some live service where the achievement is posted for friends of the gamer to see and be oohed and ahhed at. Every gamer will internally utilize this differently, while some will simply enjoy obtaining a large number of achievements, others are more concerned with the kinds of achievements.

When you actually start looking at the achievements for many games, though, you start seeing that a lot of them are based on simply passing a part of the game which you are required to do in order to finish said game, like beating a boss or "discovering" a new map area that you would have to go to in order to proceed with the story...to finish the game, which I call story-based achievements (this includes game-based objectives you would have to try hard not to accomplish like buying a few items and such), and feel more like place markers to tell your friends where you are in the story rather than an actual achievement. Then there are the achievements that acknowledge the gamer for doing something that was not required to progress the game, such as killing enemies in a certain way or completing auxiliary or little-known side quests, which I call skill-based achievements.

Take Borderlands 2 as an example: of the 50 or achievements listed in a search, about half of them are story-based, which means only half of them are skill-based. I believe the reason behind this is to give the gamer instant gratification and a pat on the back because that's what most people want. But getting pop ups showing achievements where about half of them are relatively meaningless really waters down the sense of accomplishment for getting that X number of headshots, or defeating so-and-so without any teammates receiving damage. And the number of story-based achievements feels like it's getting worse. When I look at my trophies (analogous to achievements) for Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, I feel like I've accomplished something with most of my trophies, so when a pop up shows me I got something, I'm actually excited, and it's something I might actually care for someone else to see.

Star Ocean TtEoT Trophies

Sadly, a certain sense of accomplishment has been lost with today's achievements. Today, everyone must win and feel good about themselves to the point where achievement no longer feels so individual. We don't need "no gamer left behind", and while it's good to have a few achievements for everyone, it would feel more like an achievement if there weren't so many of these "I played the story, yay!" achievements out there. I'd like to once again be really proud to show my achievements off without having to wade through the bile.

In short? I don't need another cookie to feel good about myself as a gamer.

yo ho ho and a bottle of advil!

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i was born in t' southern end o' t' country a small and skinny lass. i was weak and frail, but trained t' fight and did well with t' best o' them. but somethin' was missin'.

then i went off t' college t' try t' become smarter, but it didn't work and i still felt like somethin' was missin'.

that was until t' day i stumbled upon a map t' a treaaye at sea! how excitin'. i decided from that day fore t' become a pirate known as Psycho Blondi, t' polish blonde rocket scientist o' t' seven seas!

i looked high and low, but no boat was t' be had.

does anyone out thar have a boat i could conquer--i mean borrow--for a few years out at sea? we can watch t' stars, sail t' sunken treaayes, plunder and pillage and finally walk t' plank together (though we only get t' do that once).

in any case, pirates like loot. i be playin' BL2 fer some loot later today.



Halloween 2012: The Return of Samus.

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samus costume

i have a lot of work to do as some parts are in major need of repair, but if all works out, i'll be back in action by halloween of this year.

woot!

;)

-zyxe