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Thursday 27 June 2013

Dungeons, Dragons, Bunkers & Badasses

So recently my housemate Tom has acquired - and damn near completed - the Borderlands 2 DLC, Tiny Tina's Assault On Dragon Keep. If anyone saw the hilarious trailer, they'd realise it was a DLC area set up to mimic (and lightly mock) tabletop RPG gaming, as well as various other RPGs and aspects of nerdistry.

This gets a little bit meta. While the main characters of Borderlands 2 are roughing up an enemy agent, the main characters of the FIRST Borderlands engage in a pen-and-paper roleplaying game wherein they play...the main characters of Borderlands 2, in a quest to rescue a queen, defeat a (handsome) wizard, and save the day.

Along the way, there's some cheap laughs (and some quite subtle ones) at various and sundry staples of RPGs, the fantasy and scifi genres, at popular games such a Dark Souls and WoW - and less obvious targets such as Disney's "The Black Hole".

However, it does several things really well.

It's the most emotionally engaging of all the DLCs, ironically. I won't go into why - but it deals with loss and acceptance. It also directly addresses a trait that both the video gaming and role-playing communities display: exclusionism, and its partner-in-crime, geek becoming cool.

To address the second - we get to witness both sides; the "jock" discovering his geeky side (and being disparaged by "true" nerds such as, weirdly enough, Lilith the Siren) and the hardcore geek who's always been there (who feels her territory is encroached upon by the same type of individual that used to beat her up in school). And we probably take just a moment to realise: hey, that's pretty well-observed.

Most people playing the game will be one or the other. Most will be familiar with one of these two points of view. To be reminded that the other side is just trying to get along with something they enjoy is, perhaps, something we need. Even if geek is cool it still takes a big step to go from being outside of that circle to inside - just to be met with a hipster-like dismissal through some percieved lack of authenticity. Don't feel threatened when people like something you do. Celebrate that other people can potentially see the same wonders you saw, and you can share in it. Humans are at their best when collaborating.

The first?'ll have to play it to find out.

Suffice to say I was impressed.

Sunday 16 June 2013

After A Moment's Peace

Well now. It has been a while.

A fair amount has happened, and I just haven't really had it in me to update in that time. My employment situation is currently up in the air in the biggest way, but I'm trying to not let that freak me out as much as it potentially should be. I moved house - had to, after the landlords of the old flat decided they were tired of managing it. Now I've moved in with several interesting individuals, my Nakama - Team Gurren - and we've dubbed the place The Clubhouse.

My health still isn't great. But then I wonder if it ever will be. I can't help but worry. Now I'm in a damp-free insulated house, things should improve over time. One can but hope. My mental health - we'll see. It's still a daily battle.

Creativity? Aside from scrobbles to do with the various RPs I an involved in, I'm dry. A couple of grand ideas and no will or capacity to execute them. The internal writer's strike continues I suppose.

I suppose despite it having been two weeks ago I'm still reeling from the house move. It's a big change and I'm the kind of guy that takes a while to adapt to such things. I'll get it eventually.

Sometimes you have to sweat the small stuff, because the big stuff could kill you.

I'll blog more. I promise.