Illustration 8/8/17

Pastel color of Wren, one of our original characters for our upcoming story.

Tea’s ISIS-chan

Yuji will post his ISIS-chan on Tuesday.

These images are our contribution to an effort to Google bomb ISIS.  This is not intended to make fun of anyone’s culture or religious beliefs.  The article that tuned me into this movement can be found HERE.

We usually try to stay away from politics on Random Encounterz… but this is ISIS we are talking about.  We hate ISIS about as much as anybody outside of ISIS hates ISIS.

If you draw an image of ISIS-Chan and send us the link, we will post it on our website.  If enough people send us images, we may even start a special ISIS-Chan gallery!  Let’s do our part to combat ISIS’s image by drawing pictures of a cute sexy anime girl who loves melons!!

Dragon Age: Inquisition: Adding game features and content in patches!? WTF

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS (But hopefully nothing that will ruin the good moments 🙂 )

I would like to begin by saying I love Dragon Age: Inquisition.  The only Bioware game I did not fully explore was Dragon Age II (but really, what was there to explore?).  To say I’m an addict would be entirely accurate.  It is because I am a BioWare addict that I feel more than a bit betrayed by recent information that has come to my attention.

There are many reasons to love Dragon Age: Inquisition.  The story is great, the game mechanics are solid and the diversity of its characters is superb.  They have a good equipment/crafting system, multiple difficulty levels and engaging interactions.  This is the first video game RPG I have played where I have asked myself ‘what would my character do?’ rather than ‘what answer do I need to give to get the outcome I want?’  Like any good RPG, this game includes a ton of side quests and collecting quests and places to explore.  To fully complete the game would take hours of dedicated hardcore gaming…

Its a good thing I’m a dedicated hardcore gamer.

I always begin a game like this blind.  I never read up on the upcoming content, I never watch the trailers and I never go to the website.  This means I experience the story as it was intended to be experienced.  I made sure to update my universe in Dragon Age Keep and I began the game with my usual choice: female elven mage.  At the beginning, I felt like I was sliding into a hot bath after walking for hours in the snow.  Dragon Age: Inquisition was everything I had been wishing for.  (Aside from the crappy PC controls)

I chose my romantic partner based on who my character would be interested in.  In this case, my intended romantic partner was Solas.  I fully completed the first three explorable locations before closing the rift in the sky.  I made sure to upgrade the castle and fully explore some of the newer landscapes (and completing all character quests) before finishing the Grey Wardens Storyline.  An equal amount of game play happened before I decided to get around to saving the Empress.  Throughout this lovely exploration, I figured out all of the details about equipping items, the crafting system, the combat system and how each characters abilities effected the other so I could maximize my effectiveness.  At this point, I was 150+ hours into the game.

Alarm bells began to ring fairly early on.  Nothing was obviously buggy, but I have played every other BioWare game.  Its almost impossible not to draw comparisons with Dragon Age: Inquisition and previously released BioWare titles.  I found myself comparing Dragon Age: Inquisition to the Mass Effect trilogy more than I was comparing it to the previous Dragon Age games.

Here is what I noticed:

> The controls and game mechanics are very similar to Mass Effect 2 and 3.  This is most obvious when playing the Multiplayer part of Dragon Age: Inquisition. (no, seriously.  It really is Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with new skins.  If they tell you any different they LIE.)

> The loot and item system is very similar to Mass Effect

> The crafting system is similar to any MMO, but the customization for armor and weapons is right out of the Mass Effect trilogy.

> The mechanics for the castle is almost exactly like upgrading the Normandy in Mass Effect 2 and 3

>The Romance aspect of the game is far more like the Mass Effect games than the previous Dragon Age games.

> They re-use sound effects from the Mass Effect games.  Terror demons use the same sound as the Banshee from Mass Effect 3.  The sound effect for finding a hidden object in Dragon Age: Inquisition is the same sound effect for completing a minor quest/finding a quest item in Mass Effect.

I think that a company that builds off of its previous successes is a good company.  Unfortunately, Dragon Age: Inquisition fails to live up to its predecessors when it comes to implementing these game mechanics.  It did such a bad job in some cases, that I was positive my game was bugged.

The character of Solas was the starting point of my tragic journey.  Every other primary character in BioWare has a ton of dialogue and side quests.  This lack of content when it came to my romance with Solas made me do something I had never done before: I checked the forums.  Would you know it? I was not the only person to notice this problem.  I discovered Solas has notably less content and the content he does have is so buggy that most people can’t access it.  (In case you were wondering, I’m one of those people.)

The possible suggestions for how to avoid these bugs required me to restart my game.  I deleted my previous game without finishing it and I began again.  THIS IS HOW IMPORTANT it is for me to go through my first play through without a hitch!  I willingly lost 150+ hours of gameplay!  I would not do this for any game.  I would only do this for a game where everything that your character does determines everything your character can do.

After speeding through the beginning of the game while avoiding completing some quests and lower level areas just to avoid certain bugs, I find I’m stuck with the same bugs I was experiencing during my first play through.  I’m frazzled and all of my effort needs to be redone…  (All the shards need to be re collected…)

After delving into the forums SOME MORE, and reading MORE spoilers, I find a little article on Game Informer’s website.

I felt like I was one of those characters who looses their glasses.  After spending time searching for their glasses, the character manages to get them back on their face with enough time to see some horrific danger coming at them but without enough time to do anything about it.

In some ways I felt vindicated.  Things were missing!  Before the release of the game, BioWare pulled out content because it was not completed.  They did not appear to have time to figure out what pulling this content would do to the rest of the game.  This is a game where every choice you makes effects everything else.  The code must be like a spiders web.  I would venture a guess that pulling some content and game mechanics out is the cause for many of the character and quest bugs reported by most players.

It is only because I am a lifelong fan that I feel comfortable venturing a guess as to WHAT is missing:

> Solas is missing entire scenes and sequences because he is too buggy or content for him has not been released.  I would be shocked if he is not the focus of a major patch.  As it stands now he’s a piss poor excuse for a BioWare primary character.  T3-M4 had more content than Solas does!

> The castle upgrades and customization options should get a serious upgrade.  Everyone who has finished the game reported the upgrades to your castle do not effect the outcome at all.  In Mass Effect, if you did not upgrade your ship people died and your ship was ripped apart.  Upgrades were also minor mini quests with your crew.  Garrus would upgrade your weapons systems, for example.  This allowed for more character interaction.  I would be very surprised if the Castle upgrades, resource management system and management of the fortresses you capture don’t receive upgrades of their own.  This was another part of the game where I felt things were missing.  They could have improved upon the Normandy upgrade system, made the main characters more involved in the fixing/upgrading of the castle.  As it stands, I prefer the Normandy.

> I would not be surprised if the crafting system expands more weapons, armor and customization options.  In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the material your upgrades are made out of effects the appearance and functionality of the item.  This is very similar to Mass Effect, except the materials your armor was made out of only effected the texture of your armor, not the color.  You could make your armor any color you wanted.  I felt this was brilliant, and its really disappointing to see Dragon Age: Inquisition did not improve or even include this brilliance.  They could have included dyes (they have a potion and elixir game mechanic set up already) or SOMETHING so your armor could be as customizable as Mass Effects.  It also would not have been hard to include Mass Effects ability to choose what clothing your character wears when they are on their downtime.  When you were Shepard in the Normandy, you could choose from several outfits that your Shepard could wear when they were not in their armor.  In Dragon Age: Inquisition you have two situations where you could include this ability: The outfit you wear around the castle and the formal outfit you wear to the Orlais Royal Court.  They could have improved upon what Mass Effect began by allowing you to create and customize these outfits.  There are many examples of different kinds of clothing worn by NPCS.  The clothing already exists in the game!  They could have at least included the ability to change your haircut and your makeup.  Its sad when Commander Shepard has a better fashion sense than my Inquisitor (who has diplomatic and social duties to attend to).

> In Mass Effect 3 the multiplayer and single player were linked.  In single player, Commander Shepard would go to the places you go to to in multiplayer.  The idea was, Shepard would unlock these areas and the people you played in multiplayer would be holding these areas.  It helped to see galactic readiness rise as you played the multiplayer, which would effect the single player game.  This story link is much less apparent in Dragon Age: inquisition.  You could at least see the multiplayer characters walking around the castle.  So sad to see these story opportunities missing.  They could have really improved upon what Mass Effect 3 began.

Now I have a choice to make: Continue playing and accept what happens, or wait and see if they fix what I’m hoping they will fix.  I remember a time when games were released they were finished.  I think everyone needs to look at Blizzard and Valve’s giant piles of money and realize release dates are not as important as customer satisfaction.

Feminism or Masochism?

I have found when discussing things like female characters in video games, men seem to think that I am attacking their sexuality in some way.  What many people fail to realize is: this is not about men.  The reason I am critical of how women are portrayed in ANY media source is because of what looking at those images does to me.  I could care less about how a man reacts to it.

“Women have two choices: Either she’s a feminist or a masochist.”
― Gloria Steinem

It’s really not about the miniskirts, perfect skin and absolute gorgeous bodies; its about the sheer amount of it.  If I had my way, this kind of ‘woman’ would be a stylistic choice, not the norm.  For example: I have no problem with Lollipop Chainsaw but Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins bothers me.  I know the gaming community often makes fun of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII because his sword is so unrealistic.  ‘It would never work in battle!’ people often say.  Morrigan (and characters like her) are equally as unrealistic to anyone who understands the time, commitment and products it takes to look that gorgeous.  (I could continue further, but in talking with Yuji about this he was inspired to do a comic.  REZ will expand on the kind of time and effort it takes to look gorgeous on Thursday 🙂 )  What kind of message does it send when developers say: ‘Who cares about the world we have built or the incredibly amazing story that we are trying to tell, its more important to have eye candy!’?

Then there is the problem in understanding what a strong woman is.  It seems people think that giving a weapon to a woman makes her strong.  The worst offenders are the female characters who act ‘strong’ but only to the degree where it makes them attractive.  These characters are easy to recognize because even their faults are attractive.

I wish to see characters that act like human beings, regardless of gender.

Panel 1: Princess Peach from Mario Bros games and Princess Zelda from Zelda games

Panel 3: Laura Croft from Tomb Raider

Panel 5: Sorceress (Diablo II) and the Neverwinter Nights lady

Panel 7: Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII

My two cents worth…

https://medium.com/@handler/the-paranoid-style-in-gaming-misogyny-1d412f212bda

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/zoe-quinns-depression-quest

I figured it was about time to add my two cents to the most recent gender ‘conversation’ happening in the gaming community. You know, the ‘conversation’ that has involved a female game critic and a female game creator being physically threatened and harassed. The harassment has gotten so bad, they have had to stay over at friends houses in fear for their lives.

Come on people, really?

Its hard to know where to start with an issue like this. I was raised by my mother and father. Both of them are gamers. The first rule of our home was: Games are about having fun.

The reason why I have not really addressed everything going on up until this point is simple; the real life rule of our house is also a rule of Random Encounterz. Games are about having fun. It does not matter what hangs between thine legs, what your skin color is, what religion you believe in or what culture you happen to come from, as long as your here to have fun.

I think that all conversations regarding improvements to video games or the overall geek culture should revolve around how we make things more fun. I rarely have experienced harassment based on my gender in the gaming community. When I have, its usually when I begin discussing my gripes with the gaming community and someone comes along and dismisses what I have to say.

For the sake of clarification, I’ll list my gripes here:

  1. The female form is used as decoration way too often.
  2. Women present in many games don’t have characters.
  3. There is not enough women as playable characters.
  4. There is not enough moderation in online games to control harassment
  5. My gripes and criticisms of games and/or the gaming community are dismissed because ‘not many women play ‘real’ games’ or because I’m ‘not a real gamer girl’

Up until recently, the dismissive comments were usually ‘The vast majority of gamers are men, so video game publishers will continue to advertise and appeal to the male audience. Its only good business.’

Because I am a minority, I’m not worth listening to? Dafuck?

I feel there is a difference between the gaming community and the business of creating games. In my community, I want to feel like I am respected and what I have to say matters. Its a bit hard to feel that way, when your essentially told ‘I don’t have to listen to you because you don’t represent a majority of our community.’

Very recently, the dynamic of these dismissive conversations has changed. The Entertainment Software Rating Board Statistics reports that 40% of gamers are women and 67% of American households play video games. These statistics should blow a massive hole in the ‘appealing to male customers’ argument.

If only that were true…

The Entertainment Software Rating Board does not discern the difference between Candy Crush and Battlefield 4. This has led to the argument that a vast majority of ‘gamer women’ are not in fact, gamer women at all. Either Candy Crush is not a real video game, gamers who play Candy Crush are not real gamers, or the girls playing video games are ‘posers’ and not ‘real gamer geeks.’

I think the one that bothers me the most is ‘your not a real gamer girl.’ On a few occasions I’ve been dismissed because there was no proof that I am a ‘real’ female gamer. Are we going to start demanding resume’s now? What kind of games do you play, how well do you know these games, do you wear glasses?

I almost wish I did not wear glasses so I would not fit in with the stereotype.

I thought we wanted more women in our community? How exactly can we make the gaming community more female friendly if the criticisms of women already in the gaming community are dismissed (and worse.)? In the past few months the very act of a woman creating a game or criticizing our community is putting them in harms way.

I am just, baffled. Truly baffled. Criticism is not something that is inherently bad. As I understand it, its a tool intended to explore how to improve something. You can love something and still be critical of it. When I say ‘I wish there were more female playable characters in video games’ I am NOT also saying ‘I hate male playable characters in video games.’

These so called ‘men’ feel threatened because of some female strangers opinion about the games they love and/or the community they love. They say its an attack on their masculinity, that somehow a woman being critical of them threatens their maleness. This gets to the core of what bothers me (other than people being afraid for their lives). Yuji has the woman he loves (that would be me 😛 ) criticizing the things he loves and his own personal work on a daily basis. He is very much a dude, he’s not ‘whipped’ and, to be perfectly blunt, he comes from a culture that’s generally more misogynistic than my own. So how can Yuji ‘handle’ this kind of criticism? Its actually a foundation for our relationship, a key element in the respect we have for each other. He respects the fact that I can see things that he can’t, so my criticism only strengthens him. Even if he does not agree with me, his ideas are stronger because he has been able to think about them in a different way. I value him in an equally similar fashion. Through this criticism, we are both stronger.

Yuji is not the only man that I am critical of, or is critical of me. My best friend Bryce, my brother Barrett, and my father Brian are all critical of me as I am critical of them.

Now that I think about it, all the men in my life are like this.

So the people threatening these women? Are they really ‘men’ as many cultures define ‘manliness’? I don’t think so. Based off my observations and understanding, strength is a core element to masculinity, and there is nothing strong about being threatened by the opinion of another.

General Announcements

For the most part we have been quiet on social media aspect of things.  In part, this is because we are moving to a new home in real life.  This has been going on for a while, and we are in the final end phases.

Even for someone without fibromyalgia, this kind of thing is a huge energy drain.  As you can imagine, I’m stretched to my limits at the moment.  The plan right now is to continue posting every Tuesday and Thursday.  I may miss a few posts because there are so many unknowns.  Even if I somehow manage to stay on top of my condition, there is no guarantee I will have access to the internet.  And if you think that Yuji and Bear will continue to post, think again.  They are apart of this move too, and are subject to the same unknowns that I am.  Even our extended cast, like Bryce, Evan and Katie, have been drawn into this.  Its an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of situation.

Once everything has settled, you can expect to see the following things happen…

> More regular blog posts and social media updates.  This may include reviews using the ‘pain no pain’ system I’ve set up.

> A paypal link, if you feel generous enough to fund our operation.

> Comics and/or art posted on Sundays

> We will be exploring the idea of a store and the idea taking commissions.  This probably will involve our deviant art accounts somehow… If you have suggestions on this front, please send them to us at tea@random-encounterz.com

> Creation of a character page, in case your curious about the variety of characters that appear on REZ

> We will be exploring the idea of advertisements.  As much as we love add free websites, we also love being able to eat.

In the meantime, keep enjoying our comics!

In Loving Memory of Robin Williams (without comic blog post)

Grief is not something I often feel when a celebrity dies. I never knew them personally so the loss of their life does not effect mine directly. At best, I am sad because they won’t be creating new things to enjoy.

This is not the case with the loss of Robin Williams. I have shed more than a few tears since I heard he was dead. Apart of the way I handle grief is by writing about my relationship with the person who died. Up until now, I’ve only written about people I’ve known personally. I figured since my relationship with Robin Williams was that of a public figure and an unknown admirer, it would be appropriate to post this in a public space. What better public space than my blog?

When I was a little girl, I struggled with my ADHD. What effected me the most was the constant failure. Everyone said, “Try hard and you will succeed.” Then I would try so hard, and I would not succeed. Then Robin Williams did a documentary on Dolphins for KCTS. That documentary is my first memory of Robin Williams. I remember thinking, “He’s so much like me and people are letting him make a documentary about dolphins!” Whether or not the man actually had ADHD was irrelevant.

My admiration for him never faltered, regardless of what was happening in his personal and professional life. He never needed to be perfect. When he starred in a movie I did not like, I would sigh and roll my eyes and think ‘that sucked.’ When I heard he was struggling with drugs and alcohol, I would feel disappointed. When I heard about his mental health, I would hope that one day he could be happy.

Regardless of what he did or what he said, he was always my favorite. He was my favorite because of the lessons he taught me. He was never my idol because I never idolized him. I loved him.

I loved him because, despite the fact that he was a always messing up and he was SO high-energy, he still earned so much respect from his co-workers, his peers and the general public. I’ve never wanted to be apart of his community, but I so admired this ability. I felt if Robin Williams could be respected, then there was a chance that one day, I could be respected, too.

I loved him because he could make me cry. He had so many facets, so many places from which to draw inspiration. I could always tell Robin Williams was the kind of man to ponder and brood. I could tell because I am also the type to ponder and brood. He taught me that it was possible to turn the sadness that comes from pondering and brooding into creative energy. Something beautiful could come from suffering.

I loved him because he had wild, crazy energy. It was an energy very similar to my own. I hated mine with the kind of hate that makes your mouth feel like you’ve just eaten charcoal. Its a wild seemingly uncontrollable energy that was, I felt, the cause for most of my failures. Robin Williams taught me that the energy I spent so long fighting against could be used to my advantage.

I loved him because he would fail. He would let the darkness of drugs, alcohol, depression and whatever else, surround his light. It would seem almost to consume him, before his light would drive it away. I have always shuttered at the thought of the demons with which he must have contended. I figured, a man of his radiance would have to have some very scary inner demons. He taught me you should never stop fighting; no matter how bleak things may seem, how dark your thoughts or how many bad choices you’ve made. Never stop fighting.

I loved him because he could make me laugh. He taught me laughter was the best way to stay sane in a universe where the important questions don’t have answers.

You can have love, it seems, for a teacher you’ve never met.

Let’s not forget that Robin Williams was a member of the ‘geek’ community. I have it on good authority that he played Warhammer 40K. I grew up among Seattle’s gaming crowd. There was a story about a notorious 40K battle between Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. Robin Williams supposedly played Gay Orcs, while Billy Crystal played the Jewish Eldar. Thinking back on it, I’m not sure if this story is true. I hope it is. I loved the story so much that I imagined that I was there to watch the battle. I imagined it so much its become a memory, as real to me as any other.

Much of my knowledge of Robin Williams was absorbed over the course of my childhood. I have no memory of where I learned it. I would read interviews and bits of information on various blogs. He was a gamer and he did love Anime. I learned that from a recent Reddit AMA that he did. The memory sticks out in my mind because he told the Reddit community his favorite Anime was Cowboy Bebop. My Dad read it outloud to me. I remember laughing because yet again, there was another similarity between me and my favorite actor. I love Cowboy Bebop, too.

Not only have we lost an amazing comedian and a brilliant actor, we’ve also lost a fellow member of the geek community.

Remember, death is but another adventure.

The Darkness (without comic Blog Post)

This comic brings up an interesting battle that wages in my gaming community; Console gamers Vs. PC gamers.  I am a PC gamer.  My brother is a PC gamer.  My brother of another mother is a PC gamer.  My parents are gamers.  My best friends are PC gamers.  My Uncles and Aunts are PC gamers.  My Cousins are PC gamers…  I’m sure you get the point.  The term ‘PC Master Race’ REALLY applies to my situation.

It was not that my parents had anything against consoles, they simply felt they needed to draw the line somewhere.  We had PC games and just about every table top game you could possibly imagine.  They felt if they bought a Super Nintendo or a Sega, we would never go outside.  Apparently children need sun to grow.

It did not help that my father has a hatred of what he calls ‘jumpy puzzles.’  IE:  Games that require you to jump at a certain time otherwise you fall to your doom.  Pretty much all the major console games at the time relied heavily on this game mechanic.  I think my biggest criticism of consoles was that they seemed to alienate gamers like my parents.  They never had the chance to develop spacial reasoning inside a video game and hand eye coordination.  Megaman also has a very steep learning curve.  My parents developed such negative associations with consoles that they won’t even consider giving them a try nowadays.

Anyway… I digress.  consoles did not really become apart of my household until I had my surgeries when I was 16.  I could not get out of bed, so playing PC games was really challenging.  (Monitors had yet to become thin at this point).  My Dad’s co worker gave me her old N64 with all the important N64 titles included.

At first I was really happy.  Yay!  I got to play titles I had never been able to play before, like Mario and Zelda. They were so COLOFUL and BRIGHT.  The puzzles were really easy to solve unless I was tired and my hand eye coordination sucked at the moment.  In the case of Zelda Ocarina of Time, it gave the illusion of having an open world to explore…  The game mechanics were lacking in tactics.  Mario had… 3D, which actually made it more confusing without any significant improvements to game play.  You could not even control the camera angle very well.

You know what?  The appeal wore off very quickly.  Compared to the games I had already played on the PC, every ‘classic’ fondly remembered N64 games were pieces of shit.  I’m not even afraid to say it.  I was 16 at the time so.. Half-LIfe had already come out.  I loved that game (still do).  I had played Starcraft and Warcraft II to death.  I had played all the Elder Scroll games, Heroes of Might and Magic, Civilization IV had come out around that time… oh yes, lets not forget all the Dark Forces games and Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics.  When your used to Morrowind, Zelda Ocarina of Time is a new level of Hell. (I wont even BEGIN to discuss the female character problem.  Zelda and Princess Peach SUUUUUUCK.  Unless your into objects with tits…)

The N64 gathered dust…. THE ONLY time it was EVER played in my home again was when people came over.  You did not need to move all the computers into one room.  You did not need to dig for power cords and put up with tables that made your monitor wiggle.  You just had to press a button, hand everyone a controller and plop your asses down in front of the TV.  In my opinion consoles have few advantages over PC games.  Their strongest advantage is the social group play.  No mater what PC game developers do, your always going to be limited by everyone needing their own computers and monitors in order to play together.

Still… this was not enough of an appeal to keep me interested.  Its only since I started dating Yuji that I’ve delved back into the console scene.  I am saddened to see that only Nintendo seems to be embracing the one significant advantage consoles have over PC’s.  Yuji’s new Ps4 does not even have any games we can play together.  Thaaaats right… You need separate consoles just to play together!  AGH!  Do people not think this through?  I know my family isn’t the only gaming family out there.

Gaming families want TO PLAY GAMES TOGETHER.

If my family (Mother, Father, Brother Bear and Myself) wanted to play a Ps4 game or an Xbox One game together, we would need to buy 4 consoles and 4 controllers.  We would also need to have a place for all these consoles.  You CAN attach a console to a monitor… that you would use… to play… YOUR PC GAMES. But lets just say for a moment you did use your monitors to play a console.  We would still not be in the same room, which is the whole appeal of playing together on a console in the first place.  So we are stuck in separate rooms, hooked up to our monitors because we don’t have 4 televisions in the house and we want to play games together.

Theoretically you CAN play multiplayer games together on your own network without a subscription if every single console is in the same house.  I have not experienced such ease of access but I do admit I am mostly console illiterate.

This does bring up another problem… if we wanted to play with my spiritual brother Conrad (who lives in New York) we would need to shell out money for four subscriptions in order to play with him.  Oh yes… and if you have an Xbox and a PC on the same network you need to pay for the Xbox to play with the PC.  Yuji and I experienced this little gem when we were trying to play Fable 3 together.  YOU CAN theoretically play with a PC and a Xbox over Xbox live now.  HUZZAH!  Too bad Yuji’s Xbox kept on saying we needed a subscription in order to play together.  WE WERE ON THE SAME HOME NETWORK!!!!

That just puts the last nail in the coffin for me.  Consoles make you pay for a service your console is already built to do.  At least when we were all paying for subscriptions to World of Warcraft I knew that my money was going to pay the poor sods who had to continually update the game every month in order to keep it from crashing.

Other nails include: You can’t mod your game on Consoles, there is no easy reliable way to modify your hardware to improve performance and if the thing breaks you void your warranty if you open it up and try to fix it yourself.

With the lack of togetherness gaming, the only thing good about a Ps4 is the ability to sink into your couch while you play.

buuuut….there is one bright light: The Wii U.

I have purchased a Wii U and I’m in love with it.  It fits perfectly into my life.  The Wii U, unlike the Ps4 and the X-Box One, has embraced its multiplayer togetherness gaming spirit.  It does not try to compete with my PC.  Instead, it creates its own nitch that seems to work in harmony with my PC.

My favorite part about the games on the Wii U?

Super Mario 3D World and Mario Cart 8 seem to have been created with families in mind.  Its easy to jump in and out of gameplay, it does not severely punish you for using up all your lives and the more people playing the more fun the game gets.

Super Mario 3D world has been hilarious.  Evan, Bear, Bryce and I played through the entire game.  The coordination aspect was a bit easier than Payday 2, but we still chose to play that game even when we had access to PC games.  Sometimes its NICE to have a game that does not demand every ounce of brainpower.  I was able to play it with them despite being in a significant amount of pain.  Admittedly it only took us two gaming sessions to beat the entire game but… those two gaming sessions were a lot of fun.

It was not until Yuji and I were watching over my friends (who are age 6 and 10) that we had the opportunity to really appreciate Super Mario 3D world to its full extent.  Children have a completely different perspective from us adults.  We needed to work together to coordinate these different perspectives in order to progress in the game.  This was really fun.  It was also challenging while not reaching the point of making it too frustrating.

Oddly enough, my friends enjoyed playing Mario Cart 8 over Super Mario 3D World, despite Mario Cart 8 being more frustrating for them.  My 10 year old friend was having challenges with the game but she was slowly improving.  It was my 6 year old friend who really reminded me what gaming was about.  As we were playing, he was continually coming in last despite the game being at the lowest difficulty setting.  I was trying to be helpful and suggest game tactics to him, but I could tell he was getting very frustrated.  When I suggested that we could play another game, he looked up at me in disgust.  With his big blue eyes narrowed, he stated VERY clearly that he was going to figure this game out and he wanted to get better.

And on that day I was reminded that all gamers, regardless of age, want to challenge themselves to get better.

I have yet to try and play it with my parents… but rest assured, the day will come when my Dad, Mom and my brother Barrett will all attempt to work together to save tiny bottled fairies.  It is one of me greatest wishes to see this happen…(it will never happen)

PROPS to Nintendo for creating a game that families of any age can enjoy together.  I hope they continue to create games like this.  Downside: You have to buy controllers.  The Wii U is backwards compatible with the Wii controllers.  The Wii controllers have less sensitivity so eventually I will need to shell out money for 4 new wii stick controllers.  I will also need 4 Wii Pro controllers.  Its nice to see that Nintendo recognized that some people could not adapt to their new stick controllers but they will make you pay 200 dollars in order to have a set of 4.  I am choosing to have fun with this.  If I need to get 8 new controllers for my Wii U, then they are going to be the shinest, decorative glammory (I just made this word up.  Its MY WORD) money can buy!

And thus ends (for now) my midnight rambling rant of why I am PROUDLY a member of the PC master race.  Yuji has begun to convert as well.  The sweetest victory was when he admitted to me that he wished he could play first person shooters on a computer.  The controls allow for greater precision, but he is having a real hard time adapting to the controls.  Its so.. so sweeeeet….