Video Game Lessons

If video games taught American anything…

Well, there are a few that have better lessons, but I think “diamond in the rough” is the phrase I’m looking for.

But why? One has a jamming problem and the other will fire after being buried in the sand for ten years. Is this why they say “good guys finish last?”

Until next time,


Video Game Lessons

As Gamers…


Today’s post comes care of Facebook and Issac, who gave DSW sorcerer M some responses to the above. For your enjoyment:

Leaning forward can help with attentiveness.

Exclaiming in pain when a character gets injured due to trying to put yourself into the position of that character.

Finding which way to go means you’re going to miss out on opportunities in other areas.

Magnum bullets are usually the ammo for a very powerful gun, thus having enough in a situation that warrants it is a good backup.

Buying all the skills not only gives the satisfaction of full completion, but also of being able to try things out if wanted.

Tutorials are designed to guide someone through something, it would be like having to take English 101 at the beginning of every class that had writing in it.

Tutorials are designed to be easy (normally), thus if you died in it, it means you failed at something “easy” and pride could take a hit.

If it’s the enemies health, it could be to try something out at a time where you can recover easily. If it’s your own health, you’re probably going to die anyway, might as well try something riskier that could win it for you.

Sometimes it’s nice to blow off some steam or see those big numbers.

Most everyone is an annoying little shit

Competitiveness between “rival” factions. Much like sports, politics, or any other group that can be separated into factions.

Sometimes they record the voices too quiet, or the person has a peculiar way of speaking, or you need to keep your volume down but still want to know what they’re saying.

Stay salty, DSW faithful,


As Gamers…

Everyday Heroes

Since it ended (and hit Steam as a sale item), I’ve been kinda’ obsessing over Life Is Strange. It’s an episodic adventure game using a sort of point and click interaction. If you know The Walking Dead, you’re familiar with point and click gaming.

This particular game has a catch. The main character, a somewhat disillusioned young photographer called Max, finds that she can rewind time around her to redo actions she’s taken. I’ll be honest, that was one of the things that hooked me. The other was the preview of the story that sought to convince me that the story was far, far deeper than a teenager and her  camera. And boy were they right.

My point is that Life Is Strange is a fantastic game and well worth the full price (and I’m trying to justify the special edition to myself even though I’m not employed at the moment. I think I’ll put it off a little while).

In a more meta place, the distributor, Square Enix, brought the fiction of the game into reality. Part of the story, and without spoiling anything, is the Everyday Heroes contest. This is a photography contest that takes place during the week this game covers. The theme, surprisingly, is the everyday hero.

Square is running the contest in real life at the moment, so I took to submitting an image I’ve been sitting on for a few years now. Maybe you recognize the subject?


I captioned the piece for the story it represents: a mother of three took in two emotionally stunted teenagers years before she was meant to have to deal with teenage problems and managed to get two decently well adjusted adults out of the whole thing. Being one of those teenagers, I feel uniquely able to judge in this regard.

Life is, indeed, strange; and strange things happen. Sometimes, the shit hits the fan all at once. That’s OK. It just means the problems will vanish all at once rather than festering for years on end. Here I’ll raise a glass to my family’s fortune and happiness in the near future.

Until next time,


Originally published here.

Everyday Heroes

Perspective: The Enclave


No matter the argument or conflict, there tends to be an Other in the minds of each side. This Other is sometimes seen as somehow less than the person speaking, somehow inhuman or negatively foreign. The point of discussions like the one I’m starting with this article is that there is always another perspective. The established opinion of the masses may only scratch the surface of the reality to be had.

Dissecting the Enclave, remnants of the elected government of the United States of America, circa 2077. What if the Enclave were legitimately trying to better humanity at large?

In a short piece of investigative journalism left unpublished in an October 2077 issue of the Boston Bugle, it would have been revealed to the American people where their President and majority of the government had been during the last six months leading up to the Great War, the day every nation on Earth left sanity behind and committed to total nuclear destruction.

Earlier that year, the President and selected members of the government had abandoned the White House and most offices in Washington, even leaving their local bases such as the Raven Rock facility with only skeleton crews. Where did they all go?

Publically, it was known as the Poseidon Energy Off-Shore Oil Platform. To the growing organization that had a President in office and fingers in every branch of government and the private sector, it was known as The Enclave Oil Rig.

History says the leaders of America died along with the rest of civilization, but they survived. They ran away with the intent of not only saving their own skins, but also preserving that which they believed was the “best of America;” the government, scientists, thinkers and soldiers.

Their reappearance in the 2240s cemented their despotism in the minds of many, especially in the minds of the people of the fledgling nation, the New California Republic. The destruction of the Enclave Oil Rig was spread through newspapers as nothing more than a bright light over the horizon of California, but many in NCR and other factions on the west coast remember the facts.

A certain Chosen One gave the Enclave a multi-megaton slap to the face when they attempted to kidnap an entire village to use as test subjects for a deadly strain of the Forced Evolutionary Virus; which is about as terrible as the name suggests.

But years later, in 2277, the Enclave appeared again in Washington DC, now the Capitol Wasteland. History says a Lone Wanderer and his allies in the almost mythical Brotherhood of Steel, the remnants of the old American military, beat them with a combination of righteous authority and Communism-crushing robotics.

But what if history was wrong again?

There were, by 2277, three factions within the Enclave. Of these, the least involved were the aged, retired Enclave Remnants who settled into old age in New Vegas Independent State (NVIS) territory outside their capitol of New Vegas.

The second of these was the generation of Enclave that fled east to Washington when the Oil Rig went up. Several dozen men, women and children made it out of the Enclave main base of operations, and many of them ended up at Raven Rock with the third faction.

The skeleton crew of Raven Rock was long dead and turned to bones, but one man survived. President John Henry Eden called on the leader of the scattered Enclave, General Autumn, to head up the reborn military of the United States of America.

40 years after the Enclave arrived on the east coast, Autumn’s son, Augustus, has risen to the rank of Colonel and is standing in his father’s place as leader of the armed forces of the Enclave. And he has a plan.

In the 2250s, a group of scientists were at work on a project to purify the drinking water of the Potomac tidal basin for the people of the wastes. The project had been abandoned for almost 20 years until the Raven Rock facility received a signal that the generators of the bastardized Jefferson Memorial were turning again.

Moving quickly, Colonal Autumn ordered his forces to the site of Project Purity with the intent of enlisting any person present and restarting the water purification project.

Autumn’s violent execution of his plan was cut short when the project’s leader flooded the control room with waste radiation from the system, killing two Hellfire troopers, himself and very nearly killing the Colonel.

In the following months, the Enclave worked to get the purifier working, but found that several uncommon components were needed to make the system work. All of these could be found in a single package: a Vault-Tec Garden of Eden Creation Kit.

Unfortunately, such a device was lost when the single Vault to be issued one, Vault 87, had been hit with a high yield nuclear warhead in 2077, permanently sealing the entrance to the bunker.

It wasn’t until a free lance for the Brotherhood of Steel broke into that Vault that anyone in the Enclave had hope for utilizing the purifier. Using his paths and their aerial superiority, the Vertibird VTOLs, Enclave officers wrested the much-needed GECK from this mercenary and arrested him.

Once interrogated by the Colonel, the prisoner was set free by President Eden with orders that he be allowed, fully armed and armored, up to the President’s office. This order was countermanded by the Colonel, who ordered the prisoner’s life be terminated on sight.

Here, the divide becomes clear. In a private meeting with President Eden, the standing leader of America shared his plan for the genocide of the irradiated people of the wasteland.

There were two standing factions, and two standing plans of operation, on the east coast in the Enclave: one sought power over the nation’s capitol city by using clean water and force to enforce their laws and authority. The other faction sought to wipe the slate clean for “pure” humans to take the wastes back from mutation.

What happened was never clear to many outside the Brotherhood of Steel, and many of the details were blurred or wiped from record by Arthur Maxson, leader of the Brotherhood in 2287. Some say that the honorary Knight of the Lyon’s Pride was the hero who erased the Enclave from the Earth. Some say he agreed, foolishly, with Eden’s plan to wipe out mutated people and creatures; tainting the waters of life. Whatever the case, one thing is certain: the Enclave, for better or worse, wanted to make America great again; however misguided their actions were. America was still great, but just needed clean water and a few good heroes.

Perspective: The Enclave

Pokemon for the Virtual Console! Citizens rejoice!

It has been announced today that Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow will be re-released on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console at the end of February this coming year! Citizens rejoice!

To celebrate this, take a gander at the device you’ll be playing them on!


I jest, I jest. Promise; cross my heart and hope to accidentally make Mewtwo faint and have to restart from my save eighty-seven times.

But, really. In actual celebration, and in a case of double Throwback Thursday, I give you nearly the full text of a throwback review of these games I wrote for my university paper about two years ago. It’s OK to laugh now.




Everyone still remembers Pokemon, right? Come on, Ash and Pikachu and the incompetent antics of Team Rocket all set to a cheery theme song and other Saturday morning breakfast cartoons – bah! I’m talking about the games that spawned such a huge pop-culture phenomenon.

Before Ash was the player-character called Red, and his rival Blue, before Pikachu was your starter Pokemon (mine was always Charmander), and before the cheery theme song, you and millions of other kids were humming along to Pokemon’s original bicycle and surfing themes in their 8-bit GameBoy glory. Bluntly, the bike theme was awesome.

For reasons that have been over-analyzed by geeks like myself for more than ten years, you, an eleven year-old with nothing but your first Pokemon are sent on a months-long quest for the local authority on Pokemon to research all 150 Pokemon in the world.

Your journey, Red’s journey, and other romanticization given to the plot of the game, usually takes place over 16 hours of game-play and in the Kanto region of the Pokemon world – not to be mistaken for the Kanto region of Japan, on which the region is partly based.

The popularity of the first Pokemon games reached an unprecedented scale. No one could have imagined in 1996 that this strange bug-catching-influenced game could have become what it is today.

But there are several features of the game that won the public over: The world is of a dozen unique cities, the game holds more than 150 separate species of beings, and the game mechanics, while not the odd mathematical magic they are today, were one-of-a-kind for the time and gave way to multiplayer battles and trades that persist in modern games.

Although many fans remember the original games and dislike the most recent generation of Pokemon, the first installment of this series was not without its faults. Of the many glitches and programming errors in Pokemon, there were those we hated for deleting our game without warning or mercy, and those we abused for infinite numbers of Rare Candy items or the highest tier of capture device, the Master Ball.

In the end, for all of Pokemon Red and Blue’s game mechanics, the complexity of the world, story, and replayability, these games have earned a 4 out of 5.

Pokemon for the Virtual Console! Citizens rejoice!