zyxe's waste of space
The Judging Gamers Union | The Reconnaissance Union
The Metroid Federation Union | The Fanfiction Union
blog. what a funny word. c'mon, just say it. blog. bloooooooooooog. blllllllllllllllllog. blog blog blog blog blog. b l o g .
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As you may have noticed, articles, editorials and news features having to do with various social issues surrounding gaming (or with a gamers' slant) have been making an upswing here on GS. These issue range from violence in gaming to mental illness and so much in between. As gaming becomes more of a mainstream form of entertainment, the gaming community is growing, as is our social awareness of such issues. And, with the increase in the gaming population, there is bound to come an increase in pieces reflecting on social issues and their perceived relevance to members of this community.
Some pieces have been met with good debate within the community; others have been scorned and readers have threatened to leave GS for posting what they consider information that is not newsworthy. Still, some have even been praised for bringing awareness to issues that may be embarrassing for gamers to bring up on their own and opening a dialogue for change, or at the least, a better understanding of the highlighted issue.
The first topic that has really exploded across this site is feminism and gaming. It is also arguably the most hated, but is definitely one of the most polarizing. Don't worry, I'm not going to go on a rant about my actual opinion as I've done so on the numerous features on the site. Some of the more notable and commented-on pieces are as follows:
Dead Island sparks sexism flap (September 8, 2011 - 531 comments)
From Samus to Lara: An Interview With Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency (June 12, 2012 - 3724 comments)
Halo 4 devs speak out against sexism (October 30, 2012 - 700 comments)
Naughty Dog: games don't need males on cover to sell (December 12, 2012 - 454 comments)
Publishers said 'You can't have a female character,' says Remember Me dev (March 19, 2013 - 1131 comments)
Documentary on sexism in games hits Kickstarter (April 29, 2013 - 1366 comments)
A significant portion of the comments in these articles are decrying the fact that these pieces are even being published, that the issue of sexism in gaming either does not exist or that even if it does, there is no place on GS for this kind of piece. From my observation, the response to these articles was overwhelmingly negative.
Next on the list is the debate about how the violoence portrayed in video games may (or may not) affect people who play such games. Various studies have been conducted and opinions run the full gamut, some saying they affect us and may desensitize us to others saying it can help us manage pain and improve other aspects of our lives:
GS News - Violent Video Games can Ease Pain (September 11, 2012 - 134 comments)
Senator introduces bill to study violent games (December 20, 2012 - 1183 comments)
N.J. Gov: violent games must be examined (January 9, 2013 - 1447 comments)
Obama calls for game violence research (January 16, 2013 - 1298 comments)
Former FBI profiler says games do not cause violence (February 25, 2013 - 261 comments)
Study: Violent games can desensitize players (May 10, 2013 - 806 comments and counting)
This series of pieces seems to draw more of a debate than a simple "GTFO of GS". There doesn't seem to be as much of an internal argument between users as there are just differences of opinion which are handled in a more respectful manner than the issue of sexism and gaming.
Lastly, GS has gone even deeper into gamers' psyches by promoting a feature on gaming and depression and mental illness in regards to the gaming community:
Survey examines links between gaming, behavior (November 15, 2010 - 170 comments)
Study links pathological gaming to depression, anxiety in kids (January 17, 2011 - 606 comments)
Light in the Darkness: Dealing With Depression in Games (February 8, 2013 - 71 comments)
Depression Quest: A Retrospective (February 19, 2013 - 25 comments)
Video Games vs. Depression (May 3, 2013 - 1888 comments)
The last link, a relatively short documentary which was featured on the front page, has garnered a LOT of support. Comments on pieces in this group tend to be more positive and supportive in nature.
It seems to me that the most negative feedback comes from pieces where users feel judged or stereotyped themselves, which is no surprise: nobody likes to feel like they are being judged in a negative light. But pieces that analyze parts of the community and offer insight without judgement, such as the depression pieces, are welcomed overall, mostly because they are more helpful and not telling the user they need to change, or that the industry they hold so dear needs to change. Personally, I, too, enjoy these kinds of social awareness issues the best because I feel they can impact the most users in the most positive way.
I actually enjoy watching GS grow up and report on social issues. I feel that there is more than enough content on the site to the point that if you absolutely hate mixing social issues with gaming, you can find plenty to read and keep you busy without having to bother with content you really don't like. It also baffles me why so many people comment with such vitriol when GS does tackle these issues. I understand the voicing of the opinion that GS should not have these kinds of pieces on the front page, but what I mostly see are people trolling such pieces and massively increasing post counts on pieces they think shouldn't exist anyway, which is sort of defeating the purpose--but that's beside the point.
So, how do YOU feel about how all of these social issues are being represented here on GS? If you love it, what other ideas would you like to see tackled or acknowledged? If you would rather leave it behind, what would you like to see instead, and do you feel the presence of these issues truly undermines your ability to enjoy the rest of the content on the site?
FPS Doug: Poster Child of Our Gaming Community!
Boom, headshot... BOOM headshot.... BOOM!!! HEADSHOT!!! From the recent publicity attempting to link violent acts in the world to video games, FPS Doug (WARNING: link contains strong language) may as well be the poster child for gamers worldwide in the eyes of the media*.
Whether you believe the hype or not, playing video games have also been linked to some very positive effects. Several studies have shown that video games can ease pain in patients, and that violent video games may increase pain tolerance in some people. My mother, who is in chronic pain due to various conditions, has personally found that Farmville helps her relax and improves her pain management.
Then there are all of the conflicting reports from the media at large, showing that 89 percent of parents believe game violence a problem but that a former FBI profiler says games do not cause violence. So, what to believe?
Enter Cody Thompson: Walking Gamer
Whichever side you're on, there's one gamer who is breaking this stereotype. Enter the Walking Gamer. Cody Thompson is on a mission for both himself and for charity. He is going to walk across the country, from North Carolina to California, on a journey that is to start this weekend and will take an estimated 8 months to complete. During his travels, he will be dependent on the kindness of strangers for lawn space on which to pitch his tent, donations for food and supplies during his travel and support during the difficult months he faces away from his home and his wife.
So, who is this Cody Thompson? In the spirit of full disclosure, he is the husband of one of my sister's dearest friends, and that's how I first heard of his journey. He is an avid gamer and has been since the age of 4, is a former EMS dispatcher and has a bone to pick with DLC--I won't repeat here what he had to say about the horse armor DLC for Oblivion--and he was kind enough to allow me to interview him personally for this blog. (I found out the hard way that he also hates being called "Mr. Thompson", which I did when I first requested the interview and subsequently made him twitch something awful...)
See, when Cody was 4 years old, he had a serious eye disease which required surgery. As a part of his recovery regimen, his doctor actually prescribed video games. With that, his parents got him an Atari. It's no surprise that the charity he is bringing along for his walk is Child's Play, an organization that provides various toys, books and video games to hospitalized children to try to make their stay less arduous and improve their spirits and recoveries.
He still remembers his first games, Pitfall! and River Raid. He remembers the Christmas his mom scraped together enough to get him the NES with Super Mario 2. In true gamer form, Cody will be bringing his 3DS along for the walk, with an assortment of games (if you donate enough to his Indiegogo campaign, he will even send you one of his used games from his walk!). Cody sequestered his 3DS for the last few months so that the games would be fresh and new for his journey, so he has spent his gaming time lately playing a lot of his console and PC games in the meantime (DMC, Starcraft 2 and others).
Cody's Trusty Walking Companion Will Be His 3DS
The idea to walk across the country originally came from his love of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" which introduced him to a world of adventure and self discovery he wanted to impart into his own life. He says it is only natural to bring a charity along for the ride, especially since Child's Play is so close to his own heart.
Bilbo vs. Frodo: Tough Choice!
For those of you wondering where he stands on the issue of Frodo vs. Bilbo, when asked the proverbial question, "Frodo or Bilbo?" Cody replied, "My answer is............. [darn], that is not a fair question really...the Hobbit is such a different tone than LOTR. Bilbo is having this adventure. He is outside his comfort zone, and I suppose I relate to that more for this walk. Frodo knows he is carrying the source of all evil around his neck, and well.... that [messes] a dude up." So now you know. (Thanks to GunnyHath for suggesting that question!)
While not the focus of his journey, Cody is well aware of how the gaming industry and community is being perceived, and he has his own ideas about games, violence and the roles of parents in all of this. When asked about his thoughts on the connection between violent acts and video games, he responded, "...the issue with games and probably movies is parents think it is just a game, so they get it, no biggie. Let's hand Darksiders over to a 12 year old and not pay attention."
He also recalls how his mom handled video game violence with him as a kid: "I grew up playing violent games. My mom got me Mortal Kombat 2 for the SNES but she watched me play it and she made the call if she thought it was appropriate for me to play." He does not believe in government censorship, and instead puts duties on the parents to make the call. To all who believe that violence in games has a widespread effect on gamers, he replies, "We are going to see a HUGE boom in America's farming community any day now. Farmville was THAT popular." I guess my mom is going to become a farmer. She already has a huge garden at home.... hmmm... I see truth in this sentiment already...
With all of the negative publicity the gaming community faces, it's nice to see something so positive coming from one of our own. So the next time somebody scared of the world and looking for a neat and tidy way to explain the violence in the world blames you, the gamer, just tell them to walk it off.
Well done, Mr. Thomps--er, Cody. Safe travels on your longest journey.
Walk on, gaming brother. Walk on.
Interested in donating to Cody's cause? Donations in his honor can be made to Child's Play by clicking here. Donations will first cover his expenses for the walk, and all unused proceeds will then go directly to Child's Play.
You may also donate directly to him to cover his expenses, which he estimates will be $8,000 by the end of his trip, at his Indiegogo site.
Cody will be updating his Walking Gamer site with blogs during his travels, but you may also connect with him via other social media sites below:
*It should be known that I think FPS Doug is about the most hilarious YouTube video ever, I'm not knocking him in any way, shape or form
Ahh, 32. You were an interesting year. Love and self lost and found, games played, new states traveled.
New drinks drank, too
I guess you can say this is my year in review.
32 was a year of great anguish personally, but also of great growth and garnered strength. Over the last year I got to watch me stand up for myself both personally and professionally. I really "grew a pair" in all aspects of my life, which was refreshing to realize. When I look back, I really see this as the year things changed in a big way.
And not just personally, but gaming as well. I had devoted so much energy to things that were not productive before that I didn't really have enough emotional energy to game (I hate losing so often if I'm stressed, I just won't bother trying something new until I have some energy).
I realized how much my life correlates with gaming. Heck, I've been gaming since I was 7, which now would be 26 years ago. Gaming has been a big part of my life and is a lot like my dining room table or fingernails: you can take one look at how it's organized, finished, polished or straightened and know instantly my personal state of affairs.
My road to gaming recovery began with Terraria and really took off with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Both were recommended to me by my Steam friends and did not disappoint. In days where I could barely function, I would sit my gaming laptop in the livingroom and dig dig dig until I found peace. Then came DE:HR, and I found myself truly enjoying gaming again. I hadn't really ever gotten into stealth because it tenses me up, but this game is a true masterpiece and hooked me on the presentation, story and especially the fun and addictive gameplay. It got me through the worst part of my personal issues and helped me find what I had been missing for the last 4 years or so.
I got to take my gaming around the west, from Portland to Reno to Modesto to Salt Lake City. It kept me company and gave me new friends (thanks to you who stuck with me over my "issues" and gamed with me and gave me something to smile about). I got a little of my competitive edge back, which feels nice. I used to be the person to contend with on Perfect Dark for the N64. I wasn't tournament-worthy, I was the one that friends would find other friends to pit against while we had an event and they all watched. Good times But for years, I hadn't been able to compete because losing made ME feel like a loser, and a lot of the fun and thrill was lost due to stress and anxiety in other areas in my life.
One game I've been slowly getting into is Battlefield 3. I get to play with a great friend from here and he's coaching me and it's a blast. I've never really played a more realistic shooter, and definitely not online, so it has been a rather harsh learning curve. I've only played 2 separate 90-minute sessions, but was pleased to end 5th out of 22, albeit on the losing team but I'll take the victory!
Otherwise, other notable games of this year included Battlefield: Bad Company 2 single-player campaign which was fun start to finish; Minecraft, which I have a blast on my friend's server, he's always doing nice things for me there (and in real life, thanks, you know who you are!) and is a total fun person to hang with; The Longest Journey, which I will finish someday, even though it is a bit long but hey no false advertising there; Borderlands and Borderlands 2, I haven't had that much fun with co-op in a while and got to know people through both games and shared much, much laughter.
I also started getting back into a bit of console gaming with Halo 4, which has been super fun to play with my buddy 2 blocks down, the one who came over and shared some of that Apple Pie (pictured above) and played with me yesterday, my last day at 32. Alcohol be damned, I have been getting a lot better at it and am starting to have more fun.
I hope your gaming year has treated you well. Here's to a fresh start with 33!
Gamespot recently released a video series called, "What Gamer Are You?" I found it to be a fun 4-video series that does what everyone loves: tells us stuff about ourselves! Seriously, though, what it does is categorizes us into the different "types" of gamers based on gameplay traits that transcend genres and specific games. I have compiled the videos below and written out the gist of the different kinds of gamers since I didn't see the list written down anywhere, and I find it useful to have in one spot.
Read below and tell us all: What Gamer Are You?
Part 1 -Completionist,Speed Runner, Exterminator, Extrovert
Completionist - map exploration and 100% completion/trophies/items, often replays games or replays from end of game saves to get all endings. (Compatible with: Exterminator)
Speed Runner - goes strictly for end-game win and will get through any means; typically ignores NPCs, dialogue and story and just wants fun gameplay through and through preferably fast-paced games. (Compatible with: Extrovert)
Exterminator - everything must die, no matter how big or small, not as into dialogue or story; prefers FPS and hack-and-slash. (Compatible with: Completionist, Extrovert)
Extrovert - multiplayer, guild, groups prevail as socializing is the goal; genre is not as important. (Compatible with: Completionist, Exterminator)
Part 2 - Reader, Builder, Introvert, Analyst
Reader - reads every guide, data pad, dialogue and gathers all information; prefers lore-rich worlds usually found in older RPGs. (Compatible with: Completionist, Analyst and Introvert)
Builder - creationist, prefers simulation games where management is important, and creating items with crafting and tools in other games. (Compatible with: Analyst, Introvert)
Introvert - typically solos, sees gaming as more or a relaxing habit and enjoy exploring worlds to their heart's content. (Compatible with: Reader, Analyst and Builder)
Analyst - puzzles are the main draw to games, manipulating physics and problem solving; enjoys tactics (Compatible with: Introvert, Builder)
Part 3 - Ghost, Hoarder, Difficulty Snob, Min/Maxer
Ghost - master of stealth and disguise, often plays as a thief or rogue; prefers tactics over outright gun play in many genres. (Compatible with: Analyst)
Hoarder - gathers all resources, sometimes at the expense of teammates in multiplayer co-op games; rarely spends money unless it furthers their loot. (Compatible with: Completionist, Builder)
Difficulty Snob - only plays on the toughest difficulty; does not like games that cater to the masses and dumb things down. (Compatible with: Exterminator)
Min/Maxer - RPGs are the main genre where math reigns supreme; will explore other genres where customization of stats is exploitable; can delay groups as items are thoroughly analyzed prior to moving on with the game. (Compatible with: Completionist, Hoarder)
Part 4 - Character Builder, Ultimate Evil Doer, White Knight and the Apologist
Character Builer - tweaking and completely customizing their character's appearance, back story, anything that CAN be tweaked. (Compatible with: Builder)
Ultimate Evil Doer - enjoys all manner of mayhem and cruelty, will often destroy NPCs and their weapons do not discriminate. (Compatible with: Exterminator)
White Knight - always the paragon, white knight, displaying justice and charity; completes all companion quests and may sacrifice self for others, saves everyone if possible but can get themselves into trouble doing so. (Compatible with: Reader and Extrovert)
Apologist - trudges through all games of chosen series even if undesirable. (Compatible with: Completionist)
I fit well into several of the gamer types.
White Knight: I can't bring myself NOT to help someone in need in a game, and I will often try to save every possible character from harm.
Exterminator: I have a compulsive tendency to clear areas of all enemies, but this is also because I like to explore in peace. That, and I kinda sorta like shooting bad people in the face. A lot. I still care about dialogue and story, though.
Character Creator: if it CAN be tweaked, it WILL be tweaked!
Completionist: I have a penchant for exploring every inch of a map, but don't typically go for 100% on trophies and items because I don't have time in real life. I will often also end up grinding away at an RPG and end up getting bored and quitting for a while, at which point I feel compelled to restart the whole game. I have done this with Star Ocean: Till the End of Time about 4 times now after 50-100+ hours on a game run... I still haven't finished it... But I will! Someday.
Hoarder: I need to grab every weapon I can carry, and the only real reason to use God Mode in Elder Scrolls for me is to pick up every weapon so I can drop them off at home. I do spend money a lot, though, but that's a personal issue. I really like shiny stuff. And don't get me started on shiny stuff on sale...
Of course there is no "one size fits all" way to categorize gamers, but I did enjoy the analysis of the compatibility of various types of gamers. What I really appreciated in this series is the lack of attention to the notion of "hardcore" and "casual" gamers. Personally, I believe that if you enjoy gaming in whatever form then you are a "gamer". Sure, some are more outspoken and spend more time on this hobby than others, but typically the differentiation is typically used to put down people who do not game every waking and free moment, or take gaming so seriously that their ego depends on it. Whether you categorize yourself within either of these two roles, you will typically find that you will fit into several of the categories from this series.
I think it would be nice to see this integrated with the Gamespot Players Network (GSPN), which does have its own gamer categories, but I think I prefer the series' analysis to the ones registered on GSPN, especially when it comes to compatibility. I thought that was pretty neat! I'd also like to see what gamer types do not get along per this analysis, because I know that I don't get along well with Speed Runners if I haven't played through a game myself, Ultimate Evil Doers in general, Difficulty Snobs because I just don't have the energy or Apologists because if a game isn't good, I don't want to play it (again with the lack of energy thing).
Did you guys watch the series? What did you think?
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...
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.
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: 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.
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).
Darkest Days Villain Group Base (CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW).
Silent Sentries 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
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:
and then 5 more people were confirmed so i baked an apple pie:
and then i had leftovers so i made an apple crumb pie for myself :
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
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:
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- there is no problem, stfu.
- maybe there's a small issue, but just deal with it.
- females DO suck at gaming. true story, bro.
- if you don't like it, don't play online games.
- 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.
- here go you women again, wanting to be put on a pedestal for gaming. stop talking about this, period.
- bringing up sexism in gaming only perpetuates it.
to which come my responses:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- again, this is someone who thinks they live in a bubble and is too lazy to care. pathetic.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
for those kinds of jackasses, i'm pretty sure this is what you'll come to find out if you don't:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
i'm hoping photobucket resizes it like i TOLD IT TO HALF AN HOUR AGO.
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.
any other engineers out there, aspiring or accomplished? (MS in mechanical and aeronautical here!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
what would you do? retire, buy an island, give money to all your family and friends?
so i keep seeing some lotto story in the news about a family winning a $300M plus jackpot and they are having their entire family retire. i don't play the lottery, but i have to admit that i've thought about what i would do if i DID win big, say over $100M, or more money than i could ever rationally spend in my lifetime.
first of all, money cannot buy happiness, but it can help lift some things that weigh us down. money is a powerful tool, and i could definitely do more with, well, more money. money is also a central focus of many of our lives, in that we work to earn it so that we can use it to get or do stuff. money has the power to help us fulfill our wildest dreams, but also to break up marriages and create suspicions and discontent.
still, i wouldn't complain if i won a large jackpot or got a hefty inheritance. but i would realize that it won't fix all of my problems in life, and that with its ease would come new problems.i watched some show that chronicled the lives of some lottery winners, and sometimes it doesn't turn out well. one of the themes in the show was how unscrupulous some friends and former family could become when the dollar signs appear in their eyes, and how the winners became unsure of who they could trust and then isolated and lonely. then there are the folks who spent their money too quickly and outran their bank accounts, leaving them worse than when they started, or the ones who were taken by crooks and lost it all anyway.
i think about how, even though it might be nice to not work so hard, having a purpose is very important to some people. i'm not sure what purpose i would find with having a ton of money, and i like to feel useful for my personal skills rather than what i have in my bank account. i also don't think it's a good idea to give handouts and enable people to look at you like their personal piggy bank, and let them become lazy and dependent.
with all of that in mind, below are the things i would do if i ever won the lottery (though i have to say that this should not be considered binding should i win, and that i have every right to change my mind ):
- pay off all of my debts and all of the debts of my friends and family. this would be way better than just giving people a hand out, it would free them from some burden and give them a fresh start without allowing them to become too complacent in the future. this would be a one-time deal, not a recurring bail out because anything else would be teaching them they can keep screwing things up and would always be taken care of (take note, feds).
- buy 2 or 3 nice houses, and a decent amount of property for the future. the world isn't getting any bigger, and i might need a safe zone should the zombie apocolypse ever occur.
- buy a decent house for each of my immediate family members, and give them enough money to pay property taxes for 20 years. no mansions, just a nice place to lay their heads and enjoy some space.
- buy my parents each the car of their dreams, and put half a million in their retirement account. they had to put up with me for 17 years in their home, they've earned it
- keep $5M in my own account in addition to having 50 years of anticipated property taxes on all my properties, invest some of it, but more have it as a safety net.
- set up medical care funds for any friends or families that need it.
- donate the rest to pay for medical expenses for working class and poorer families. i have no need for so much money, it would allow me to be less of a person than i am and become lazy and complacent. i don't want people begging me for easy outs, or worrying that people are just using me for my money (i already feel so overly used for my amazing good looks *cough gag*)
so that's what i would do if i won the lottery. how about you?
ok, so i never left GS, but this blog isn't about a triumphant return to a website. it's about my triumphant return to actual gaming.
if you've been following my blogs for a while, you know that i had some very bad personal things happen this year. it really knocked the wind out of my sails. and while i'm not yet full speed ahead, i've finally recovered one thing i had previously lost: my love of gaming.
part of my departure had to do with a heavy work load and a rather negative living situation over the last few years. add to that the purchase of a PS3 that died in 15 months and the fact that there were almost no games that tickled my fancy, and i was left as one jaded gamer. i like FPS, and i couldn't get back into it in consoles since i left them 5 years ago for my PC. the RPGs i found just didn't seem to have the magic i'd found in previous games, and i lost the one person i used to play games with (ironically the fallout initially started over a game, which didn't help).
the bottom of the barrel was when i was really down and could only play bejeweled 3. BEJEWELED 3!!! sure, there are lots of shiny objects and fiery explosions and stuff--every girl's dream--but it's not my usual game. i pretty much played it to get lost and pass the time because i was too stressed out to play any challenging games. i had a conversation with a good friend of mine from here and he said something along the lines that i wasn't a real gamer anymore. he may have been joking, but it kind of stung!
so i got busy i ended up getting borderlands and am having tons of fun with co-op! i've never been able to play an online game with real life friends, but this game is an awesome FPS to play with other people. i got the game of the year package on steam for like $8 (that seems too low so maybe i'm wrong but i know i wouldn't have paid $20 for it). i actually look forward to gaming again and am having a good time but the game that really got me going was deus ex: human revolution. what a polished game with fun gameplay and amazing story! that's the first game in a while i've actually looked forward to getting home to play. i even had dreams that i was stealthing around, knocking heads together and tranqing targets. all in a day's work!
i still play bejeweled 3 a little here and there, but c'mon it's hard to go cold turkey. i like looking at all the shiny gems i'll never see in real life!
did you ever have a gaming lapse, and what brought you back?
is a luxury.
think about the last time you were truly bored: you probably weren't thinking about where your next meal was coming from or where you would lay your head to rest the next night; you probably had lots of things you could do, but weren't in the mood; you probably had people to call and family to catch up with, but just didn't feel like it.
the next time you're bored, look towards wherever you get your inspiration and, at the very least, mumble a "thank you" to the stars, because it means that you are not preoccupied with drama and sadness or--better yet--safety. take a deep breath in, hold it for a few, then exhale the boredom.
and then find something worthwhile to do.
i just got a request for this so i will post it. this is me with the yoda statue in the courtyard of big rock ranch at lucasfilm, about the only thing i was allowed to take pics of. fun!
i hate pics but heck these were just too much fun. i love going to their sites
as she came to the edge of the forest, the throbbing started. in the fray and after, she had other things distracting her from the pain of the gash in her arm. unsurprised but unsure exactly how it happened she scrounged for some herbs on the forest carpet, hidden between in the bits of sunlight fighting their way through the leaves and branches above.
much like she had fought her way into the heart of this place.
it was much easier marching her way out without all of those pesky minions aching for the attention of her weaponry. finding her herbs, she sat down on a stump and chewed on the bundle and poured the small bit of water left from her hidden flask into the dirt next to her feet. she grabbed the mud in her hands and spat the herbs into it; the paste stung her arm as she patted it into the wound.
on the way in, she felt alive. every bead of sweat clinging to every hair on her body chilled as the wind flowed by; every twig that snapped under her feet sounded like a boulder crashing down the side of a mountain; every breath reinvigorated her and cleared her mind, fueling her progress.
but after the battle came purgatory. she knew she survived, but was numb from the outside in. muddled thoughts muted the sound of the ground passing under her feet and she could not remember the last time she took a breath; sweat had been replaced with blood from the various nicks and deep cuts all over. but they didn't hurt until just now.
the throbbing started pulsing throughout her body as she sat on the stump so she decided to press on. hours of daylight remained, but in her condition, she wouldn't be travelling fast.
as she passed through the remaining forest and the trees thinned, she saw the fields stretching out before her. the tips of grass danced in the wind with a quiet peacefulness she had forgotten could exist in this world. it was a stark contrast to the sounds of battle in the morn, and even though it was quiet, her ears were still ringing.
the throbbing was taking over her thoughts and she matched the pace with her steps. one foot in front of the other. as the sun set behind her, she saw the familiar site of the farmlands just on the outskirts of her home town. the familiarity gave her the final bit of strength to plow forward and make her way towards the lights.
she wondered what she would tell them as the town drew nearer; she had left without telling them of the nature of her travels. she figured that she would take care of the evil herself, and if she couldn't, there was no need to let them know what would be coming. there was no way they could have escaped, let alone won, even if they were prepared, and knowing would have only put everyone into a panic--their last moments would be that of fear and dread, and she did not wish to burden them with it.
as she crossed into the main road, she heard laughter of the town's children nearby and the call of their mothers to come in for the night. a few steps more into town and one child saw her. "she's back!" he cried to his mother with his finger extended towards her, as the energy instantaneously drained from her body, and she collapsed as a sweet darkness swallowed her sight.
her battle was over, both in the forest and to get home, and she decided they need not know. her body was home to rest for eternity.