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    TheMikeRobles Presents – Top 5 Bunnies in Video Games

    Every Bunny Loves Some Bunny Sometimes

    Easter is here and that means it’s time to celebrate everything that is bunny related. Being a gamer for over [REDACTED] years I have seen my share of bunnies in video games. So dear readers, I present to you (without consulting Jax AT ALL),

    TheMikeRobles’s Top 5 Bunnies in Video Games

    #5 – Reader Rabbit

    This is where it all started for me. As a WeeMikeRobles I often finished my work early in school. This meant that I was bothering other kids. The teachers eventually found out that if they sat me down in front of a computer and popped in a game, I wouldn’t bother anyone. Reader Rabbit served as Edutainment Software. A learning experience designed as a game. Since his inception in 1984, Reader Rabbit has been teaching kids language and making it fun while doing it.

    Top Bunnies in Video Games The Mommy Gamers Reader Rabbit

    #4 – Bucky O’Hare

    Bucky! Captain Bucky O’Hare (admit it, you were singing it). Had a comic book series, television series, and one heck of a great NES game. Crazy difficult with an amazing soundtrack Bucky O’Hare on the NES was ahead of it’s time. The game let you select your world and, after rescuing crew members, allowed you to switch between them for the rest of the game. It’s pretty hard to find, but if you can, Bucky O’Hare is a rare obscure gem that is a MUST for collectors.

    Top Bunnies in Video Games Easter The Mommy Gamers Bunny O'Hare

    #3 – Robbie The Rabbit (Silent Hill 3)

    Who doesn’t love cute pink mascots? Who doesn’t love cute pink mascots wearing overalls? Who doesn’t love cute… pink… mascots wearing overalls… and covered in blood… slumped over as if appearing dead? I love horror games. I LOVED the Silent Hill series. I own many variations of Silent Hill 2. Silent Hill 3 was ok, but it had some wonderful standout moments and characters. Like Robbie. His lifeless body served as a factor to make the player feel uneasy. Trust me, it worked. I the Silent Hill: Arcade game he eventually appeared as an enemy with a high pitched laugh. Like we needed MORE of a reason for him to be creepy.

    #2 – Hoppy (ClayFighter Series)

    As mentioned in my Claybook review, there was a time where games in the 90s used a lot of claymation for their visual aesthetic. This where ClayFighter came in. The first game sold great so work began on a sequel: C2: Judgement Clay. Like every new iteration of a fighting game, new characters needed to be introduced. This where we got the musclebound, Austrian accented Hoppy. A clear parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hoppy became quite popular and got a reappearance in ClayFighter 63 and 1/3 for the Nintendo 64. I’m certain that if we get a reboot of the ClayFighter series, you would absolutely see Hoppy make a return.

    Top 5 Bunnies in Video Games The Mommy Gamers Clay Fighter

    #1 – Oswald The Lucky Rabbit (Epic Mickey Series)

    Let me share some old school Disney trivia for you. Before Mickey Mouse was created, Walt Disney had another star: Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. Disney lost the rights to Oswald and while on a train ride to meeting, created Mickey Mouse. The rest was history. In 2006 The Walt Disney Company managed to regain the rights for Oswald. Oswald was finally back where he belonged.

    Disney’s Epic Mickey shows the struggle Oswald endured as he was left behind for Mickey Mouse. He’s angry, he’s lonely. He questions his own self worth. Oswald is a tragic character who’s just misunderstood. The emotions felt in Epic Mickey tug at your heartstrings and make you feel so incredibly bad for Oswald. He took a version of Disneyland and created it in his own image where he is the star. I will never forget how sad I felt when Mickey stumbles up Oswald’s version of the famous “Partners Statue”. Oswald even said to Mickey

    “Now I really do see why he liked you more.” after watching Mickey do whatever it takes to save a kingdom.

    Bunnies in Video Games Easter The Mommy Gamers Oswald

    After the events in Epic Mickey, Oswald partners with Mickey Mouse in Epic Mickey 2. This time around he’s much happier, much more positive, and unfortunately, much more trusting. That’s all I’ll say about that.

    If you never played them, I highly recommend the Epic Mickey Series. It’s a fantastic, dark and surreal take.

    There you have it folks! My Top 5 Video Game Rabbits. What are yours? Were there some I missed? Leave us a comment and let us know who makes your top 5.

    Hoppy Easter!

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    Richard Hatch: The Heart of BSG Goes Missing

    As a child, I think you connect with role models and heroes in a way that you don’t when you’re grown up. You’re learning about yourself, finding your passions, figuring out where you fit in. You attach yourself to people you see on screen, relating to them in deeply profound ways and perhaps not understanding exactly where reality detaches from fantasy. Those characters become a touchstone for your life. As you get older, you may grow out of that intense passion for your heroes, but they’ve left an indelible mark that never quite fades. 

For me, Apollo of “Battlestar Galactica” is one of those icons.

    I was just eight years old when the series first started airing on ABC, and I have hazy but fond memories of sitting in my living room in front of a console TV, watching a traitor named Baltar give silver robots orders from a high pedestal in a dark room. I have clearer memories of reruns being aired every single weekend throughout my entire childhood, into my mid-teens, even though BSG was canceled after just one high-profile season. I watched the series over and over again. I’ve probably seen every episode of the 1978 series 50 times.

    Two Apollos – Jamie Bamber and Richard Hatch

    One of the show’s main actors was Richard Hatch, who played Apollo, and who died this week. He was my first star crush. I was way too young to think of Luke or Han as potential crushes, when I saw “Star Wars” at age 6. And I’ve always been more drawn to strong female characters than male ones. This means that though Apollo was my first crush, I always wanted him for Sheba, played by Anne Lockhart – not for myself. That was my first ‘ship. Not that we had a name for it in those days.

    By the time I met Richard Hatch in person, I was too wise to the ways of the world to expect this actor to be anything like the character he portrayed, and he isn’t – exactly. The two are both dark and handsome and charismatic. Apollo is serious and uncorruptible, the brooding hero that good girls like me dreamed of. Richard Hatch is outgoing, fun, and easy to hang with. In my limited encounters with him, his charm has seemed more what I’d expect from Apollo’s fictional co-conspirator Starbuck, played by Dirk Benedict.

    I’ve been told that girls either gravitated to Starbuck or Apollo. This told you pretty much everything you needed to about said girl – and I was an Apollo girl. Whatever that says about me. This didn’t change after I met the man who played him. That was on the 2008 Galacticruise, celebrating the series’ 30th anniversary. I am just one of many fans who experienced the Hatch charm, and found my love for BSG revitalized by his clear passion for the series, even after all these years.

    Richard Hatch has a way with people. In my journal from 2008, I say that he’s “handsomer in person,” which is very unlike me. But his attractiveness is more than skin-deep. He makes every single person feel special. You know, at first I thought it was just me – wow, he really thinks I’m cool, I thought. But nope. It turns out he’s that way with everyone. Just ask anyone who’s ever met him. It’s easy to react positively to that vigorous, yet authentic charm, and to be enthusiastic about whatever Hatch is enthusiastic about.

    Photo from last summer, courtesy of Richard’s friend and publicist Mina Frannea

    And some of his enthusiasm has always been reserved for BSG – the story, the characters, and the family that has grown up around the series over decades, which expanded when the newer SyFy reboot entered the fold. Over the years, he’s spent much of his time and energy campaigning for another version of the series, being an ambassador for the show, and otherwise strengthening the bonds between BSG and its fans. It has been his life’s work, in a way. The fact that he ended up playing Tom Zarek in the new BSG was simply – fitting.

    I’ve met him once or twice at conventions since then, because he’s always going to them all over the world, and I interviewed him just a little over a year ago. He remains one of the most approachable actors I’ve ever spoken with, and I’ve interviewed my share. I also took one of his acting seminars. Now I’m no actor, and I have no pretensions that I’d ever be good at it, but here’s what I remember learning during that experience: acting is a lot like life. You may not be a professional actor, but the techniques used to improve one’s acting ability can help you work through your feelings and establish self-esteem. You can break through the fear that’s sapping your energy, poisoning your attitude, and holding you back from discovering your best self.

    I know, it all sounds like cliched self-help stuff, but I can’t do justice to his actual words. When Richard Hatch said it, it was quite moving and very inspiring. And I’m a cynical Gen X-er so that means something. It’s not so much the words I remember as the kindness, and the sincerity, behind it. He really wanted to help us achieve our dreams.

    I have come to know firsthand how amazing, interesting, and generous the BSG community is. This is no accident. The fans have had, as their champion, a man who who truly believes in the BSG story – its “heart and soul, and spirit,” as he described it to me in an interview in 2015. In a very real way, Richard Hatch was the heart and soul and spirit of the BSG fandom, and he will be missed. Those of us who were “Apollo girls,” or kids who aspired to be like him in a world that needs heroes, will not forget.

    And Apollo, that upright, good, honest man who saw so much darkness but imparted so much hope, may very well be waking up on that Ship of Lights again. At last.

    Click here for a Nerdist video paying tribute to Richard Hatch. And click here to go to the article I wrote on BSG, “A Fan History of Battlestar Galactica,” which explains Hatch’s contributions to BSG fandom (and a lot of other things…).

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    Carrie Fisher: Our Princess is in Another Castle

    I’ve been trying to find the strength to write this for a few days now. Every time I would try to start, I hit an emotional wall and couldn’t find the strength. Different people are touched in different ways by the lives of celebrities they love. They are inspired or driven in their lives by those they see as their heroes. Carrie Fisher was such a celebrity to many. She was so much to so many, including myself.

    The Mommy Gamers Carrie Fisher Star Wars

    She was a princess.

    For many of us who loved her, it all began when we first saw her in Star Wars. Carrie Fisher’s portrayal of Princess Leia Organa was not typical of what we had seen in princesses up until then. Leia was strong, could take care of herself, and was not at all a damsel in distress. She was someone who I looked up to so much. I was a serious tomboy when I was younger, and it made me feel so good to know there was an actual princess who was just as tough as I wanted to be.

    The Mommy Gamers Carrie Fisher Princess Leia

    She was tough and could save herself.

    On a personal note, being named after a horror story was not always easy for me. However, one thing I was always able to hold onto was that I also shared a name with Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher. It helped me emotionally shield myself from the awkwardness I felt sharing a name with a telekinetic psychopath. Carrie Fisher gave me someone to look up to as a little girl who gave me a sense of pride I just couldn’t find anywhere else.

    Princess Leia The Mommy Gamers

    Dat smile.

    Beyond a galaxy far far away though, Carrie Fisher was so much more. She was also an inspiration to anyone who has battled personal demons. She struggled with mental illness and addiction, and was open about both. Her strength has helped many, including myself, to find help when they needed it. Despite her struggles, she never lost her humor. Just another testament to the amazing strength that was Carrie Fisher. If you haven’t seen her stage show, Wishful Drinking, I highly recommend it. It’s currently streaming on HBO GO.

    Carrie Fisher The Mommy Gamers

    She could always poke fun at herself.

    Carrie Fisher was also an extremely accomplished writer. Her most famous work, Postcards From the Edge, was a semi-autobiographical novel Fisher later developed for the big screen. The novel was an outlet for her to discuss not only her struggles with addiction, but also her relationship with her mother. The film adaptation, which she wrote the screenplay for, won two Academy Awards, 3 BAFTAs, and 3 Golden Globes. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it enough.

    She wrote an Oscar winning movie.

    My heart aches for her daughter, Billie Lourd (Scream Queens), who has also lost her grandmother, Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ In the Rain). A mother should never have to outlive one of her children, and yet it happens all too often. Her last wishes were to be with Carrie again, and I’m happy she is at peace with her little girl.

    She was always herself, and never apologized for who she was.

    All in all, Carrie Fisher is the most inspirational celebrity I’ve ever known of. She helped me deal with low self esteem when I was younger, and has inspired me to never compromise who I am now that I’m older. She was a true force of nature and will be deeply missed. I want to end this piece with Fisher’s instructions on how her obituary should read:

    I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.

    RIP Carrie Fisher 1956-2016. How has Carrie Fisher touched your life? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

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    Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus

    Liquid magic in a bottle

    downy-wrinkle-releaser-YT

    I don’t iron. It’s crazy, I know. I can’t say I’ve never ironed — I do own an iron and a large ironing board — but the number of times I’ve ironed in the last five years is like… less than one.

    I remember seeing the first anti wrinkle releaser commercial and it looked magical. That might have been the reason why I never purchased any: I just assumed it didn’t work. Could it really be that easy?

    downy-wrinkle-releaser-plus

    When I was contacted by Downy I jumped at the chance to try this stuff. No, seriously. You should have seen the dance I did when my big blue box arrived. The package contained:

    • (1) 33.8 oz bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus (Light Fresh Scent)
    • (2) 16.9 oz bottles of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus (Clean Linen Scent exclusively at Target)
    • (3) 3 oz bottles of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus (Light Fresh Scent)
    • An “I <3 not ironing” shirt

    I-heart-not-ironing

    Ideally, my husband and I share the chore of laundry. He washes, I fold and put away. At least that’s how it’s supposed to go. Usually, what happens is: He washes and then clean laundry sits in the basket (I work a full time job and help run this site. Don’t judge me). Deciding what to wear consists of a daily dig through the basket; our clothes, wrinkled and no longer smelling fresh.

    If your laundry habits sound anything like ours then rejoice in knowing Downy Wrinkle Releaser will effectively kill two birds with one stone! Both the Light Fresh Scent and the Clean Linen Scent smell great. Most exciting of all is having a travel-sized, TSA-compliant option available. What better time to freshen up and un-wrinkle your laundry then after it’s been sitting in a suit case?

    If you’re still not sold, be sure to check out my demo video below. It really IS that simple and effective. I’ve been telling all my gal pals about Downy Wrinkle Releaser, as well as anyone else willing to listen. Why should we do more work than we have to? I don’t know about you, but let’s be real, I <3 not ironing.

    [box type=”info”]You can read more about our official disclosure policy here. A sample box of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus was provided to The Mommy Gamers by Downy for review.[/box]

    Fallen

    Rembering to love

    9/11 Tribute in Light

    One morning, fourteen years ago on this day, I was awakened by the sound of my grandmother crying in my room. As I sat up in my bed I looked at the television she was watching and saw footage of the falling tower. At first I was confused and asked what show she was watching. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “No, mi hija, se callo!” Still confused, I sat up and took a closer look. I realized she was watching the news and the tower that fell was real life footage. Instantly, I ran out of the room, I ran out of my apartment and into the hallway, and up the stairs. I climbed the steps two at a time, flight after flight till I reached the door to the roof. I took a deep breath and stepped outside. What I saw was a huge cloud of smoke as the second tower crumbled to the ground. The building disappeared into the mouth of the clouds of smoke as if it were swallowed whole. I stood there mouth opened wide, the building gone, and then there was nothing. No towers, no sound, just smoke. I stood in disbelief, in shock, the fear and sadness had not begun to set in yet. I looked up into the grey sky and watched the ash fly above me. I saw papers soaring up into the sky, across the water, as they fell around me and onto the other roofs and streets of my borough in Brooklyn.

    [quote type=”center”]I looked up into the grey sky and watched the ash fly above me. I saw papers soaring up into the sky, across the water, as they fell around me and onto the other roofs and streets of my borough in Brooklyn.[/quote]

    I sit here in my office today remembering the day that the two mighty towers fell; the staple of our skyline; the towers that represented the city that was my home. One moment they stood strong, the next moment gone. I think about all the people that woke up that morning to go to a regular day at work just as I did today. I think about the moment they realized that this was their last day on this earth. I wonder what their last thoughts were or what images crossed their minds. Families? Husbands? Wives? Babies? Memories of bringing life into this world or the sharing of special holidays? Would they think about regrets of things they should have done or not done. Perhaps fears of “what will my loved ones do without me?” I imagine that’s what I would ask myself.

    As the towers fell and lives lost on 9/11/2001, a 19 year old girl stood on her roof in her pajamas across the river in Brooklyn, tears streaming down her face. Too young to grasp the immensity of what had just occurred. Over the next few weeks families would grieve. Confusion, fear, pain, and anger would consume the city streets. We grieved as individuals, as families, as a city, and as a country.

    [quote type=”center”]My heart aches from the memories and the loss. But what now?[/quote]

    I sit in my office today. I look out my window. My heart aches from the memories and the loss. But what now?

    Life is happening all around us. Breathe in. Celebrate your existence in the world. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Embrace life. Embrace happiness. Embrace loved ones and all the special moments and the not so special moments. Feel the energy of life flow through your veins and beat in your chest. Embrace life because it is fleeting. Embrace life because one moment we are here and in the next we may not be.

    Love deeply; love fully; and start with yourself.

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    “Mommy! That Kid Called Me Batman!”

    The Healing Power of Fandom on Childhood Wounds

    York Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG51XA, England, United Kingdom.  Two school girls are whispering and laughing at another school girl (foregound) who looks sad and is crying.

    I had an experience yesterday that left me in complete awe.

    I was at a McDonald’s restaurant, walking back out to my car. There was a small family with two young girls sitting in the enclosed playground area eating their dinner. I looked over to them and remember making a mental note of how cute they all were. They seemed like such a sweet family just by looking at them.

    Then, I heard it. One of the little girls, probably no older than 4 or so, said, “Look at that lady, Mommy!”

    And I was ready for it. I’d heard this set-up a million times before on the playgrounds where I grew up.

    I was ready for, “She’s fat.”

    When you grow up fat, it becomes impossible to live your everyday life without constantly having your body on your mind in some capacity. Whether it’s about your physical capability, or about how much space you occupy, or the most likely culprit of being overly-concerned with how someone else is perceiving you, your body ends up taking up as much metaphorical space in your mind as it does in the world — and sometimes a whole lot more.
     
    [quote type=”center”]I was ready for, “She’s fat.”[/quote]

    So you prepare yourself for these moments. You steel yourself to them. Your mind races with witty comebacks, or the warm prickling of anxiety washes over your skin. And even if you’re really good at pretending that it doesn’t hurt, at some level, it always does, even if it shouldn’t.

    We should all be allowed to be happy and live our lives free from the judgement of others and ourselves. There are plenty of things I can’t do because of my fat body, but there are plenty of things that I can. In fact, there are probably plenty of things my body can do that would surprise people (like when I took a yoga class over the summer and outperformed a third of the class even though I was twice as big as most of them). My body is strong and capable and lovely and dammit, it should be celebrated.
     
    [quote type=”center”]I had psyched myself up to be ready for the gut-punch that always comes.[/quote]

    As a mom, I understand how kids can be though. That little girl was only about 4, and at that age, they’re really just making observations. It’s rarely an attempt to be malicious, it’s simply an “Oh, that’s different” comment.

    So I had psyched myself up to be ready for the gut-punch that always comes.

    And then the little girl said, “She’s wearing a Batman shirt! She’s cool!”

    20150409_163646
    All at once I felt warm: foolish and happy at the same time. I smiled wide at her and continued walking to my car, happy with my being proven wrong, but concerned with my premature judgement.

    In the end though, I walked away from the situation with the revelation that fandom is powerful. It can transcend so many levels of judgement that are woven into the fabric of our society and bring people closer if they open their hearts and minds to it. There’s nothing better than sharing something you geek out about with another person who will geek out about it with you — regardless of what they look like.

    And, I mean, Batman. Because … Batman.

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    Geekery, Personal
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    Women and the Future of Gaming

    ss2

    Back in the ’90s, I was a young woman working in the gaming industry – specifically, I was online editor for Electronic Gaming Monthly and a liaison to Gamespot. I faced challenges, of course, but it was fun work. I deeply respected the people (still do) and loved the environment. I truly believed that my bosses weren’t utilizing me to my full potential, but I felt like a bit of a pioneer because I was the first woman on the editorial staff (although we had great female copy editors, graphic artists, and support staff). Even if I only changed a few attitudes, and I hope I did, it was enough for me.

    I was full of optimism as an employee of Nuke.com, then EGM. I hoped, as I played networked Duke Nukem 3D with work friends after hours, for games that didn’t so obviously exclude my point of view. I hoped my supervisor, who apologized for moving me to EGM work because “I know you don’t like games, Helen,” would see how dedicated I was to the cause. I hoped, when I was moved to EGM, that my work – including a much-sought-after interview with Tom Clancy (I made the first media request Red Storm Entertainment ever got) and a feature on game controllers for an EGM annual – would lead my bosses to realize I could be an asset. I hoped I was involved in an industry that was going places – one that defined the future and could show us what was possible in terms of technology, in terms of human development, and in terms of storytelling.

    At this point in time, my involvement with EGM was more like a novelty than anything else. I was insulated in many ways, and the Internet was new. I never got the hate the women in the industry get now. I didn’t receive one single rape or death threat, even though I posted news stories on Gamespot daily. In associating with me, people were overly polite or perhaps unwittingly exclusionary, but no one attacked me. I never had to deal with the “fake geek girl” assumption. At least, not to my face. I’m fairly certain the higher-ups didn’t know what exactly to do with me, and my prospects probably weren’t all that good in the end. Still, I felt comfortable at EGM.

    Ultimately, my career hopes were not realized. I got laid off in late 1997 and moved on, with all my stories about being a girl at a gaming magazine untold. Even then, I still felt optimistic as an industry-watcher when I saw all these smart, savvy women come in to start making games, reporting on games, becoming names in the industry in the way I never did. Progress, I thought. Maybe I’m not really part of it, but it’s awesome.

    I moved on to bigger and better things, but I never forgot my roots. I stayed away from the industry until 2009, when Ziff-Davis, Inc. stopped publishing EGM. This freed me. Within two months, I was writing about games again. For several years after that, I dreamed about getting back into the industry in some more important capacity. I helped with some gaming journalism start-ups in my spare time, wrote reviews and interviews and features of the type I was not able to do at EGM, developed a gaming news-gathering operation, helped produce game preview videos. Et cetera. It felt good to be back.

    However, I’ve discovered something interesting. Over the past year, thanks to a seemingly constant glut of articles alleging harassment, threats, name-calling, and general bad behavior involving the male detractors of women in the industry – along with news of women leaving toxic male-driven gaming environments and my own personal experiences interacting with gamers online – I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want a larger part in the gaming industry any longer.

    If you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few weeks you may have missed all the news about Zoe Quinn. She’s the female developer who has been the target of horrible personal attacks since an ex implied she might have slept with a games journalist who never actually reviewed her game Depression Quest (see image above). Then there’s the controversy surrounding the treatment of feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian of “Tropes vs. Women,” who felt unsafe enough to leave her home after a series of Twitter threats. I’ll refrain from regurgitating all the details of these stories; suffice it to say, they’re ugly, they’re messy, they’re complicated and I just don’t have the energy. But boiled down, it’s pretty simple: gamer boys are being assholes. They’re personally attacking women in disgusting, unacceptable ways. Whatever the truth about Quinn’s personal and private relationships, she doesn’t deserve this level of vitriol. I don’t necessarily agree with Sarkeesian’s critiques or methods, but she doesn’t deserve it either.

    We all know the Internet can be creepy and hateful. But lately, in the gaming area, it’s become more than that. It’s become soul-destroying for women. We’re talking invasions of privacy and threats of violence using the language of rape.  We’re talking misogyny of the highest order. We’re talking about the fact that every time I read about harassment of women in the industry, my hope dies a little more. Sarkeesian and Quinn are trying to improve things in their own ways, yet the gamers attacking them are treating them like enemies that don’t deserve the lowliest of human rights. This isn’t the gaming industry I ever wanted to see. I used to think this would pass. Now I’m not sure we can fix it.

    I imagine there are other women who feel like me. Women who wish to break into the industry, or do an indie project, or just be more visible in the games that they play. They feel like they can’t, because Zoe Quinn isn’t an aberration, unfortunately. She’s a warning. Message received, immature gaming guys of the Internet. You’re going to keep battering us till we give, and some of us will be beaten. And the gaming industry will suffer for it. Already has, probably – there’s likely no way of knowing how many women have been turned off by incidents like these, whether high-profile or low-level. There’s no way of calculating the amount of ideas, plans, innovations, and contributions we’ve lost as a result. I can’t blame women for quitting the fight under these conditions.

    I guess, when I was a gamer girl in the 1990s, I didn’t realize that some of the changes I’d see in my lifetime would take us backward instead of forward. I didn’t anticipate that I’d feel less safe in a gaming environment in 2014 than in 1997. My hope for women in the industry is at a very low ebb, these days.

    But, more importantly, I see that gaming isn’t the future I imagined. Instead of opening up our worlds to new vistas and explorations, the public face of gaming right now defines all those things we ought to have left in the past.

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    5 Ways Kids Are Like Boss Battles

    Photo Credit: gtrwndr87 via photopin cc

    Photo Credit: gtrwndr87 via photopin cc

    Becoming a parent means many different things to different people. To me, it’s invigorating, frustrating, challenging and fulfilling all at the same time. Recently in a rare moment of quiet when my daughter was taking her afternoon nap, all of my professional writing and editing duties were finished and the dogs had settled down and decided to stop bothering me, I realized the act of raising a child holds a lot of parallels with fighting a boss battle in a game. Here are just a few of those similarities.

    Their arrival is met with both anticipation and trepidation

    Being pregnant is like living in a constant state of anticipation. Besides your own feelings, everyone around you is also eagerly awaiting the arrival of your child – friends, family, strangers who suddenly feel the need to talk to you and touch your belly. In many games, I’m often eagerly awaiting the next boss battle. After defeating the hydra in God of War, I was on the edge of my seat to see which fantastical mythological creature I would be battling next.

    But then at some point, the anticipation turns to trepidation. Games achieve this by giving you glimpses of the creature you’ll be fighting before you actually fight them. To stick with the God of War example, throughout the game, you can see the hulking figure of Ares causing death and destruction in the background, knowing all too well that you’re going to need to be the one to bring him down. There are certain times during pregnancy that can do the same thing. Perhaps you see the blank, exhausted look in the eyes of a mom who is pushing her screaming child in a cart in the grocery store. For me the trepidation started when we set up my daughter’s room. For some reason, the relative permanence of the furniture was a sign that this was really happening. It was that “Uh oh. Here we go” moment.

    They drain your health and energy

    Bosses in games are always powerful, and a direct hit from one can often take you down to half health or less. But besides your in-game health, fighting a well-designed boss can be mentally fatiguing as well. Your alertness and reflexes need to be hyperfocused, and in some games (I’m looking at you Ocarina of Time) the sounds associated with running around with low health are enough to drive you insane. Kids are no different. Even after you successfully navigate the sleep-deprived newborn stage, your kids will have an uncanny ability to catch all sorts of nasty illnesses that will then be passed on to you. Not to mention the mental and physical energy it takes to deal with a willful toddler who insists on doing the exact opposite of what you say and then finds it hilarious when you get angry.

    They require you to make use of all of your skills and abilities

    Often, fighting a boss battle will require you to come out of your gaming comfort zone and put to use some things you may be able to get by the rest of the game without doing. Personally, I’m not very good at using ranged weapons in games, so whenever I would come up against a boss that had some element that required me to use a ranged weapon, I would always groan. Similarly, my daughter has forced me to be extremely patient, more empathetic and markedly less sarcastic than I’ve ever been in my life before.

    Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they change things up

    Kids are notorious for this. A child that has loved to eat a certain kind of food will suddenly refuse to touch it, or a baby that has been peacefully sleeping all night long will start waking you up at 2 a.m. again. I’ve personally found if I feel like I’m cruising along comfortably when it comes to my daughter, then I better watch out because some new challenge is just around the corner. Bosses are the same way. Most traditional bosses have at least three different stages, each of which requires its own strategy to defeat or survive.

    Finishing the battle is both exhausting and fulfilling

    Defeating a particularly challenging boss can leave your in-game character low on health and your hands feeling like those of an arthritic old man, but it’s satisfying all the same. In parenthood, the battle is daily. At the end of each day I often feel like I’ve been running in circles while accomplishing little, but then my daughter will give me a hug and tell me that she loves me, and I know I wouldn’t trade this feeling for anything.

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