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11:39 AM on 05.06.2015  

You can ask whatever you like (yeah) - AMAA!

 
Looking for answers? You might find them here.

Looking for answers? You might find them here. 

Hello, my darlings! I've returned once more to participate in what seems to be a fun little exercise that appears to be floating around in the blogs. I figured I'd stop by and answer some questions, though I'd prefer not to answer any questions about Destructoid. Anything else should be fair game, though I should probably call this thing an "Ask Me Almost Anything." 

For those asking what I've been up to, I've been managing the team at G4@Syfygames, working with VentureBeat, and I recently published a BuzzFeed list. I'm still working with Crunchyroll, Otaku USA, and a smattering of other publications as well. You won't find me making butt videos or anything, but I'm out and about! Keep an eye out for my weeaboo reviews too, many of which I'll either publish elsewhere or will put up at my own blog, Space Channel Fine. I also have a review coming up here at Destructoid for publication still. My blog is still very much a work in progress, but I hope to see you all over there when it's time for the great unveiling! Once I get it up and running completely I'll move all my blogs like these, but you can always visit and I hope you will! 

With that out of the way, commence the asking! 

  read


9:42 AM on 11.05.2014  

How to transcend the 'gamer's plateau'

I will play nearly any video game on any console. As long as I can get a copy, I'm going to make it work. Because there are so many to wade through, I'm starting or stopping games all the time.

I'm often faced with situations where I find myself unable to progress in any of the games I've started up, whether it's due to a bump in the road or the my overwhelming backlog. I know I'm not alone, either. Sometimes, no matter what you do, or how often you try, you just can't quite get past a certain spot in what you're playing.

The first few footholds were easy to navigate, but you have found yourself at a point that you just can't quite get out of. Welcome to the gamer's plateau.

Right now, I'm playing a real cluster of games. Yeah, yeah, I know. I try to do too much instead of focusing on one. I'm wading through Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and beginning several others that I'm going to need to complete for review. Thankfully, those are smooth sailing at the moment. But I often think back to one summer where it seemed as though I just couldn't make any progress, no matter what I did.

It was a sweltering day during the middle of a windstorm. I couldn't kill the final boss of Final Fantasy III because I refused to level up sufficiently. Later than month I lost my way in Dead Rising's Paradise Plaza before I could get to the scoop point. For the life of me, I couldn't win the races that Brucie rode with me on in Grand Theft Auto IV. It wasn't a great month, especially since I was trying to power through games I hadn't completed yet back then. 

What's my solution? I remember putting them all aside and focusing on other games and other areas of my day. All the while I planned on how I would make my triumphant return, because as we all know, if you leave something problematic to fester for a few days or weeks, your return is almost always successful. It's a phenomena that I don't quite understand, but it is certainly real. However, real as it is, it's not always practical. Who wants to take a vacation from a game they bought last week? If I was horrible at something two weeks before, why should I pass the trial with flying colors now?

I can only surmise that a little time heals everything--from relationships to game overs. I don't always have time to wait though, in the case of electronic entertainment. I want to make progress now, not later. So what can I do? Lucky for me, there are a few different ways to make it over this bump in the road. They may not always work, but they will at least ease the frustration a bit. With that said, I've compiled a list of things to try when you feel like you just can't go any further. No, suicide is not one of them. And sure, they may sound like common sense, but in a world where rage quitting is our go-to defense, someone's got to talk some sense into players.

Hit up a guide online, of course

Contrary to popular belief, using a guide or a walkthrough will not make you less of a gamer. I know, I know. It may come as a shock. This may well be the most obvious bullet on my list, but it really is the best thing to help if you need instant feedback and direction. It does have its drawbacks. It can't play the game for you, so it's up to you to actually put an author's instructions to good use. I can promise you that you're not going to be shunned by your friends. Why do they have to know anyway? Honestly, who finds every single Dalmatian in Kingdom Hearts just by exploring? Okay, someone did. But if you're not all about that life, hit up a guide. Or blaze a trail and make one and vet out the frustration of being lost. Either way, you win. 

Socialize.

Sometimes, nothing works wonders for a roadblock in your game than a phone call. Somehow not paying attention can be the best solution. Call up a friend and complain about your dilemma. If you're lucky, they'll have a really great experience to share with you while you divide your attention between them and the boss you've failed to defeat 399459345 times (coughcoughCloudofDarknesscough). After concentrating for so long on the perfect button combination or strategy to overcome whatever you're facing, sometimes a little absentmindedness will pay off. It might just be a fluke, but sometimes you're just willing to either accept any kind of victory or throw in the towel. So go ahead, call your grandmother and fill her in on what's been going on in your life. Great way to connect and get past whatever you can't conquer, am I right?

Enlist some help.

I am horrible at sports games. Anytime I have to play anything with a section even remotely resembling sports, after a few attempts (if it isn't horrendously boring) I'll curse my own life. My father used to love to blaze through these sections with me when we would game together. He enjoys wallowing in the wide world of athletics, especially television game coverage and sports of the virtual variety. It's perfectly fine to hand over the controller to a brother, a sister, a friend, or a family member. You're in a safe place here. We're not going to tell, I promise. Would you rather stay in your slump or actually see the ending of whatever you're playing? Yeah. I thought so.  

If applicable, practice.

Okay, so maybe you really suck at Geometry Wars. The only way you're going to get better is through playing it over and over until you can figure out how to stay alive until after 100,000 because those little teal diamonds always get me you. To put it simply, if you can do it over and over, then do it. At the very least you're going to be super well-versed in this area of the game. So when anyone asks you about such-and-such area, you can puff out your chest. You know, you can be all SUPER SRS PRO. Right? That's what we all want, secretly.  That, and to be able to look down on others who enjoy one type of entertainment when others don't. 

After you've tried all the aforementioned methods and still find that there's no possible way you're going to vanquish the insurmountable task laid out in front of you, then you can always give up. Give up and never see what happens after Aerith exits your party. That's fine. Let Niko rot in Liberty City. No one's going to judge you for it. All sarcasm aside, we here at Destructoid believe in you. You'll get there. Promise. 

LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games

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6:13 PM on 09.18.2014  

A Secret to Everybody

I first met Link when I was a young girl, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when our friendship truly began to blossom. In the dim glow of my bedroom, I’d embark on some of the most fantastical journeys with the flaxen-haired hero, ranging from the important missions that would define him as the years marched on to the lackadaisical strolls through colorful lands straight out of a cartoon. Though he was silent, withdrawn, and in many ways lacking the maturity he would find in life during his later years, I found a kindred spirit in this young man who, despite our various differences, grew to mean so much more to me than many of the the relationships I had built in my waking life.

Riding through the countryside together, discussing everything from our plans in life to shared obsessions, I grew to know Link as well as myself: his strengths, his weaknesses, and even his mannerisms. The pained expressions that would cross his face when met with a challenge he thought he may not be able to overcome, the way he’d smile shyly and give me the most earnest expression you could ever dream of was priceless. When Ganon threatened all that was dear to us, we formed a common bond to defend our beloved land. We slept beneath the calming shade of the Deku tree at the edge of the world, brought rain to endless plains, and turned back time together. During our 3 AM jaunts to keep Termina from facing its horrific end and intimate discussions we grew ever closer, growing older, and sometimes falling away from each other when spirits of old and even animalistic urges consumed us both. When the howl of a wolf kept us apart, I was ready to return to his side once he touched the sky. And there, he truly shined. He became the hero I knew he had always been.

Even though he told me he’d always protect me, there was one he'd die for. She changed in appearance over the years, though she retained the same vibe and personality -- the idea of a Princess Zelda — an elegant, youthful, effervescent matriarch with flowing, regal garb and the noblest of intentions. But their relationship was always rocky, with the princess being stolen away so often by forces who wished to manipulate and terrorize her. And from all of Link’s complaints about having to recover her and preserve her safety, one wonders why such a gallant and dogged defender would stay in a relationship with someone he is so readily willing to speak ill of. But as I stood by and watched, a witness to his exploits, I figured it out. The snarl etched across his face with every “Excuuuuuse me, princess!” was one of playful sarcasm that any bystander could decipher as glowing, caring, loving — despite his insistence over and over (amidst Navi’s cries to the contrary) that he wasn’t quite sure he even understood the concept of a romantic love yet. He knew only what was right — the courageous thing to do. And with a glance at his left hand emblazoned with the Triforce, I knew he was telling the truth.

When we sailed the seas together in the crimson vessel, I confessed my feelings to the young boy who had grown into a savior. The spirited smile and faraway look in his eyes gave away his true intentions. As he polished his shield he looked to the sky, possibly to a new time, a new place. He smiled, but I felt a new day was dawning. A new partner. I understood. All things must change, but not always in the manner in which you’d like for them to.

When we touched the sky I put down my remote. When he returns to grace a new platform, I’ll be right there waiting. Even if I’m reminiscing about the olden days and my tastes have changed. Even if I’m not a princess. Why? It’s a secret to everybody.

LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games

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2:27 PM on 09.06.2014  

I Write FP Stuff At Destructoid. AMA.

Heard there was a new C-Blog editor in town and had to check it out for myself. How are you all liking it? I knew there was a lot of clamoring in the forums about needing a new one, so with that said, is it working out better for you? Hope so.

At any rate, because I'm busy writing up a ton of articles right now, I thought the best use for this C-Blog would be a fun little AMA. 

So, fire away! Ask me anything! If it's within my power, I'll give you an answer. 

LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games

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2:20 PM on 07.15.2014  

Life Goals, by Kyle MacGregor [NVGR]



Kyle graces us with yet another original from his 2014 Kyle Against Humanity collection. This particular work depicts the subject (me) at E3 2015, having possibly shunned Destructoid for "greener pastures." This relates Kyle's deep-seated need to be reassured that I'm not going anywhere. Ever.

LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games   read


12:54 PM on 07.14.2014  

Reviews Aren't Law And You Can Actually Make Your Own Decisions



Let's work through an imaginary exercise. I'm Gamer A, and I’m tired of all the games that I have. My friends haven’t picked up anything good enough for me to leech off of them, I’m in the market to make a New Video Game Purchase. That’s right, a New Video Game Purchase. Not a borrow or a rent, but an exchange of money for goods.

Where do I start? Well, let's say I’ve had my eye on Samba de Amigo for a good while. I never did get to pick up the Dreamcast version, and I’m a sucker for music/rhythm games. You can’t go wrong with monkeys in sombreros, especially those who dance to songs that were previously in Dance Dance Revolution (El Ritmo Tropical, anyone?).

BUT – the mere fact that I am interested in the game, have prior knowledge of what it offers, and am planning on buying it based on the fact that I enjoy the genre, I'm gonna pass it up. You know why?

Because on Metacritic (and this is just an example) it received a 67. It must be absolute garbage. In fact, why doesn’t Nintendo fill about a million trash bags with every manufactured copy and chuck them out into the ocean, Dexter-style? I mean, I haven’t even really tried the game out for myself at all. Why would I even need to? It’s obvious from reading these reviews that it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

So, I’m going to go with LittleBigPlanet. It got universal acclaim, after all. Obviously, I'll enjoy it more even though I’ll need to go out and purchase a PS3 with my nonexistent extra cash, the reason I’m devoid of the system in the first place. Everyone likes this game, it seems. I should too. Haha, yeah. Sackboys are probably the cutest mascots I’ve ever seen! Better go with that. Even though I really want to play Samba. Oh well!



Exercise over. And that's just an example -- I've actually got a PlayStation 3 obviously and I have Samba de Amigo as well. The above was dripping with complete, unabashed sarcasm. However, the instance that I described is terrifyingly real, only with different games and different people. Yes, there are people out there who base every buying decision solely on reviews that others have written. Rather than using reviews and secondhand opinions to get a feel for what they’re getting into, they believe that someone else’s thoughts about a certain title must be commandments.

And that's just a little frustrating to me to see. Reviews are fantastic, and there are amazing critics out there whose opinions you should absolutely trust. But don't limit yourself in such a manner. Renting games is affordable, and doing actual research on a title you’re interested in doesn’t take too much time. Reviewers are asked to provide their opinion -- just like movie critics. It's subjective. You'll find a score at both ends of the spectrum. Sometimes, you just need to jump in and take the plunge.

It’s up to you to decide whether or not to play a game based on what you heard, or what you worked out yourself. Despite the fact that I write them myself, I only really recommend reviews as guidelines and not bibles, as it were, for which games are worth your time and which aren't. If I tell you that Monster Monpiece is good and why it's good, you should take that as a baseline upon which you should build your own opinion. Take some risks. Have fun. 



Did you ever really stop to think about what it's like for those poor souls who never take chances?

"Hey! Breathing 2: Lung Capacity just came out. The graphics suck, and it’s unoriginal. I'll probably stop breathing now since everyone else says it’s disappointing."

Far-fetched a bit? Yes. But really, it’s the same premise. Give games a chance, even if it seems the whole world is against them. Who knows? Thinking for yourself might actually be a worthwhile exercise. Then again, don’t think too hard. We wouldn’t want anyone to hurt themselves.

LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games   read


5:57 PM on 07.05.2014  

Colors of Defeat: My Personal Elementary Talent Show Hell [NVGR]



I like to sing, even though I can't do it very well. But apparently my thirteen-year-old self thought I did a stupendous job, as evidenced by this personal narrative written in middle school. I'd like to take a quick break from your regularly-scheduled video game programming to bring you a tale from my elementary school days. A tale wrought with dreams of stardom, defeat, and Disney's adaptation of Pocahontas. Enjoy this narrative and make fun of it wholeheartedly. Those were different times back then.

---


At the age of eight years old, I was positive that a myriad of talents lay dormant inside of me. Having already been praised on my artistic and literary prowess, I had set my sights on the stage. Stonestreet Elementary, the illustrious public education facility that I had attended from first through fifth grade, had an annual talent show for its faculty and students. More of a way to measure social status than actual entertainment, this talent show was anticipated by both pupils and staff. Young hearts were broken and spirits were crushed by the auditions alone. Yes, auditions. This was premium child star material. 

If some poor child wasn't intimidated enough by the leagues of other talent show hopefuls, the initial shock of standing before a sea of strangers was even more unsettling. I was among the select few that saw the bare wooden floor of the minute gymnasium's stage as a way to prove myself to the public. A way to stand up and announce to my peers that I was a force to be reckoned with; someone to watch out for in the years to come.

On the fateful night of the talent show, I stood nervously in the left wing of the stage, going over my lyrics and chatting with different individuals around me to calm my nerves. "Colors of the Wind" had been my selection. Pocahontas, Disney's current marketing bid, had featured the track as part of one of the movie's more "romantic" scenes. The formulaic masterpiece had me entranced. I was among the billions that went along with Disney's half-baked character marketing schemes, and now, decked out in my Pocahontas Halloween costume and very uncomfortable moccasins, I was about to re-enact my (copyrighted) favorite scene.

"Nervous?" Some random bystander's voice interrupted my thoughts. Just when I was getting to the part that required the most concentration! I didn't take my eyes off the paper. All this person received was a slight nod, if you could even call it that.

The sound of "Brother For Sale" emanated from the stage where my mortal enemies Natalie and Emily Gaither were performing. Performing. Scoff. Identical twins doing their rendition of a childish song originally recorded by other, famous identical twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. I didn't know whose idea that was, or who thought it would be an extremely cute thing to do for an elementary talent show, but I knew whoever it was had to be out of their ever-loving mind. I assumed that the culprit had to be Natalie and Emily's mother. PTA parents and soccer moms were just like that, it seemed. They usually already had the best of everything else, so their children had to measure up for fear of being fed to the dog. Of course, either that, or the twins were evil geniuses bent on achieving world domination by being completely and utterly cute. Yes, you may gag now. I know you've been holding it back for a while.

Their "song" was almost at its end now and my turn in the spotlight was fast approaching. I adjusted the stereotypical Indian feather that was tucked behind my ear and took in the reassuring smiles from the people around me when the master of ceremonies took the podium.

"Thank you, Natalie and Emily!" The applause was deafening, but not because the spectators were stupefied by the twins' performance. They were simply overjoyed that they wouldn't have to suffer any longer. Yes, even at this young age, I experienced bitter jealous and hatred. I examined their saccharin grins, ones that just hissed "Beat that!" as they pranced by me, off the stage and down to sit in the audience. Watching their pigtails bob up and down as they made their way to a seat gave me the insatiable urge to grab one and pull as hard as I could.

Finally the emcee ceased her incessant banter, tasteless material prepared especially for events like these. Some of her premeditated quips worked for a minor quantity of the audience, but the most she ever received was a snicker or two...perhaps a chuckle. There may have even been a few guffaws, but I digress. I tuned out the rest of her garbage until I heard my name.



"...And now, folks, here is eight-year-old Brittany Vincent, performing the Pocahontas hit, 'Colors of the Wind'!" I shuffled timidly out to center stage. Palms sweaty and heart fluttering like a frightened rabbit's, I faced the crowd of fellow students and adults to force a bright smile. My eye caught a glimpse of my father and his camcorder, about to immortalize this atrocity on film. Oh, joy. The first notes of the song blared through Stonestreet's unimpressive sound system and I walked up to the microphone.

"You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still, I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You...don't...know..."
 
The crowd in stunned silence, the music quieting for a moment to strike up the next chorus...I felt completely at ease. I watched all of my worries and anxiety fly away like the words sailing out of my mouth. I smiles and began the next verse. It wasn't until a few lines in that I realized the complexity of the song I was singing. I didn't have much time to ponder it, however. The last verse had arrived...and...

"You can own the earth and still
All you'll own is earth until
You can paint..." 

Holding my arms wide open, I hit the last few notes. 

"...with all the colors...of...the...wind." 

The song slowly faded away and I took a bow in response to the thunderous applause. It was true. I was multi-talented and I could do anything I set my mind to. This talent show was in the bag. Walking down the side steps to settle down in the audience, I felt like royalty. On top of the world. Nothing could ever bring me out of that euphoric state. Still, I played it cool.

"That was excellent!" beamed Ms. Roth, the talent show coordinator. Trying my best to mask the big smile on my face with a contemplative blank stare, I mumbled something like "It was okay, I guess." I passed the twins on the way to my parents. They stood and smiled, very politely. Very cute. Very fake.

"That was great, Brittany!" Emily almost seethed. Hatred oozed from her words like blood from a package of uncooked hamburger meat.

"Probably better than us," added Natalie. "I think we messed up a few times." Lying through her teeth, of course. I mustered a "thank you", sarcasm thick as honey, and sought out my parents. They too showered me with compliments and undue praise. After suffering through such, finally, the moment I'd been waiting for arose. Mr. Perkins, the current principal of the incredulous school, walked out onstage, all eyes suddenly on him.
 
"We've had a showcase of so many wonderful talents!" he boomed, adjusting his tie. I rocked back and forth in my seat impatiently. These adults. They loved keeping everyone in suspense. On and on he droned until he reached the only important part of his lifeless monologue. "The time has come now to announce our winner! Rather, our winners," He said this with an enormous grin. "Remember: Everyone who participated is a winner." I rolled my eyes. It was such a shame that my elders always had to rely on such banal clichés. Get to the point already! 

"The winners of Stonestreet Elementary's annual talent show are..." He paused dramatically, obviously wanting to prolong our suffering. "Natalie and Emily Gaither! Girls, come on up and get your prize!" My face fell. HOW in the world did they win? WHY? Anger boiled in my stomach like the infamous concoction of MacBeth. My eyes bore a hole in the twins as they displayed their sweet little "I'm-perfect-and-there's-nothing-you-can-do-about-it" smiles. Cockily they accepted a small silver trophy.
 
"Thank you, everyone!" they shouted in unison. My parents rushed to console me, afraid that this defeat would emotionally scar me for life. I don't know. Maybe it did. Everyone kept giving me these hangdog looks. Their sympathy made me nauseous. I didn't want pity, I wanted to win! Only a couple moments later, the spawns of Satan pushed through the writhing masses of the gymnasium to meet the rest of their perfect family.



"Nice job, Brittany," Emily sneered. "I didn't think you'd win for a minute." Little Miss Mary Sunshine, wasn't she? However, after those words left her mouth, what I'd felt during the performance surged through my head again. I'd felt important...everyone had been looking at me. Me. I turned my head to her and shrugged.

"You only won because you sang a song about selling a sibling. People go for that sort of thing." I turned my back, not waiting for a reaction. I gave her time to try out my tongue twister before facing her and Natalie again. "Besides, we all know who the real winner is. Right?"

Indeed, we did, namely myself. Even though I hadn't won the trophy, I'd felt sensational. I'd had my so-called fifteen minutes of fame. Well, four minutes. The other eleven would come another time, perhaps. I had been doing something that it seemed I was skilled at and it felt wonderful. In my mind, I was the reigning talent show champion. Maybe those tired clichés are clichés for a reason. "Everyone who participated is a winner." They're true.

LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games   read


12:40 AM on 06.06.2014  

My Pre-E3 Breather Blog, or Breather? I Hardly Knew Her!



Wow. I can't believe it's already time yet again for another E3. It seems like all I've done over the past few months is run around like a cucco with its head cut off. I felt like taking a few moments to sit and reflect on what's going on that I'd actually like to see happen at this year's show, but I've got to get to more news. I've gotta keep moving, keep writing, and keep plugging away. So when the dust settles, I'll be back with some thoughts and opinions on what's been going on with all the new games coming out to attack our faces and whatnot.

In the meantime, in the spirit of the Destructoid community and how I'm not able to talk to a lot of you as much as I'd like, here's what I've been up to if any of you are interested, and what I plan on writing in the near future if the ol' Bossmen say it's okay and all. Also, thanks for hanging out with me across all of my inane posts and through all of my Queens of the Stone Age references. You may not notice them, but they're there. Always. Watching. Don't look. Just keep your eyes peeled

I'm playing...



Ultra Street Fighter IV. Review incoming.

Monster Monpiece. Review incoming.

PlayStation Vita Pets. Review incoming.

Mind Zero. Review incoming.

The Tomodachi Life demo, over and over. I haven't been able to purchase it yet, but I will have it before the weekend is out. Mark my words on that.

The Forest. Expect some impressions at some point.

If you have any questions about the above games that you'd like me to cover in my reviews, let me know here! I'd be happy to answer them.

I'm thinking of writing...

A piece on visual novels you should play, and a brief primer on them. A lot of you seem to have some questions on which ones are actually worth getting into and which are a waste of time. Perhaps divided by genre and whatnot. Open to suggestions.

A guide to the Shin Megami Tensei games and mythos. Will take a bit of time to prepare, but would be great to get up in time for all of the Persona goodness on the way.

More of my blogs about horrible games. Did you guys dig that last one? Should I keep doing those when time permits?

I'm humiliating myself...

Just for fun, for anyone who told me I could sing well, have this cover of Ashlee Simpson's "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)" I did back in 2008 -- coincidentally, a year before I decided I wanted to re-record Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" with lyrics about winning 1UP's contest to send one lucky blogger to E3. I didn't win. Goddamn.



LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games

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1:53 AM on 05.28.2014  

Brittany Digs Shovelware: My Boyfriend



I've decided to revive my blog series formerly known as "Rampancy Plays A Crappy Game" from back in my early days as a Destructoid community member in 2009. Things were different then. I ran with Wardrox, Hollie, Nintendoll, and the rest of the crew at Negative Gamer. We had a lot of fun, but I'll never forget this piece on the DS game My Boyfriend. I'm kicking off Brittany Digs Shovelware with a throwback republishing of the 2009 blog, which you can read below in its entirety. It has remained unpublished for some time, and now I think it's time to share it. If you like it, let me know, and you'll see more. Of course, forgive my bizarre tense changes and how frenetic the piece was. I was a wee thing then, and I was just getting my start with writing. It's still pretty dear to me.

---


We all enjoy making fun of horrible games, do we not? When there's a title released that's universally bad, it's fun to make jokes at the poor little game's expense. Though it's generally extremely easy to pick out a horrid game from the reasonably subpar (read: Imagine Babies vs. Digimon World Championship), aren't you just a bit curious sometimes as to how far the rabbit hole really goes? Don't you want to see how truly terribad the game in question really is? I admit that I'm bit of a masochist when it comes to these things. I can't just go by what everyone else says. I had to buy Sonic the Hedgehog soon as it hit Platinum Hits for my 360 because it COULDN'T have been that bad, could it? (It was that bad.)

Yes, I have a very high tolerance for shittiness, as buying games on a budget, sifting through the crappy ones but still managing to amass a collection of thousands benefits me. I can't complain about that. My wanting to experience EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. I possibly can before I die is to blame. Today, though, an idea dawned on me. Why don't I take that need to see all of the remnants of gaming cesspools and put it to good use? I'll play a new, reportedly crappy game every week, rotating through consoles every three months, and share my experiences with you all! Only once a week, though - don't want it to eat away at my precious time spent with you know, actual good games?

In short:
1. I play shitty game.
2. You read about it, lulz are had.
3. ???
4. PROFIT!!!

AYU ready? It's time for My Boyfriend.

Browsing through an available selection of DS games, a title aimed at  young girls affectionately titled My Boyfriend seemed like the biggest steaming pile that I could present to you. Though simply opening up the box triggered my gag reflex something awful, I truthfully could not wait to see the fail waiting inside the tiny little cartridge. But truly, this game must be made for me, because I have a vagina and the box art doth proudly proclaim it's a "JUST 4 GIRLS" game. It's a good thing I'm one seedy sonnavabitch who doesn't play by the rules, or else this post would have never happened.

Starting this bad boy up, I'm greeting with smiling faces of Esurance girls, and the men who love them. Then, I'm asked to start a new game. No, I don't really want to, but I am braving this game for a reason. I WILL PLAY A TERRIBLE GAME SO THAT A CHILD MAY LIVE! Right off the bat, I enter my name, and am asked what type of person my DREAM GUY is. Apparently, the target audience must not be aiming very high in the romance department, because you are given three choices: musician, athlete, or rebel. Gadzooks! What if my ideal man is a musician who happens to enjoy the occasional game of football? Or what if he is a pro basketball player who wears Tripp pants when he should be purchasing from Foot Locker?! After much deliberation, I decided on a "rebel." That seemed like a suitable type after all, seeing as I ultimately did not enjoy this game despite the box announcing that it's JUST 4 GIRLS and that I should. I know, I'm scandalous.

After I chose my dream guy, the screen faded to a strangely pastel-colored, isotopic view of bland pseudo-3D character models. A generic female character (apparently me) was hanging out after school - I'm glad they really know what's hip with kids these days. My "best friend" stood before me, waiting to chat.



I hastily advanced to the next screen of text, which by the way takes up the entirety of both DS screens. Yes, top and bottom, it covers whatever action is to be had in a game titled My Boyfriend. It seems my character has "found her dream guy!" I was so stoked at this news. The game must have been halfway over since the guy had already been found. Advancing to the next screen, my best friend hounds me for more information:

"So did you talk to him?"

Yes, genius. Otherwise, how would I know he's my dream guy? Simply by scoping him out across the gym while I take hasty sips of vodka from a Sharpied-black Big Red bottle? From the way things were going as I peeked at the choice of responses (three, to be exact), no, I didn't talk to him. A selection of three words were available to determine how I answer the best friend. They were, and I quote: "'somehow, "shy," and "no." I shit you not. They might as well make each option "no" because that's what they all amounted to anyway. Are girls these days so socially awkward that they have to rely on the ideal of love at first sight in order to find a lasting relationship? The creators of My Boyfriend think so.

Five minutes into the game, and I was clearly enjoying myself! I went with "shy," as that's the only option that began to make much sense. They couldn't even be arsed to offer complete sentences for response choices. Mass Effect this game is not. After some pointless babble with my best friend who is secretly more interested in me than my dream guy, it was off to the park to find him. Apparently, I hadn't ever seen him before, either. So, it was off to the park to find Mr. Rebel. Best friend suggested the park, because rebels enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

Navigating My Boyfriend was excruciatingly awful. Poor collision detection, no HUD, no map, and assorted, confusing directions. The bottom screen, used for exploration, offered no hints as to where to go save for a tiny question mark icon. Clicking the icon prompted such useful information as 'FIND YOUR DREAM GUY!'. Right. After wandering about for a good five minutes, I managed to make my way to the park, where surely Rebel and I would meet, copulate, and produce rebel children to pass on the legacy. Disappointingly, however, reaching the park only yielded Best Friend to shriek - "Sweetie, look! He's over there!" The screen scrolled upward and there he was. Mr. Rebel himself, all decked out with long brown hair and nondescript clothing. He looked like one bad mutha-shut-yo-mouth. What? I'm just talkin' bout stereotypes! Figuring the first thing to do was approach this man and give him a lesson in Frenching, I wonkily made my way toward him.



But no! As I clicked on him with a quivering stylus (laughing too hard), a wild minigame appeared! Having been out of Ultra Balls long before that moment, I went with trying to play the minigame. A shitty, time-based game where a heart meter displays certain points of time in green. As a small heart runs over the green portions, it's your job to stop it there as if you were playing a half-baked rhythm game. Of course, even if it hadn't been so incredibad, there is no way in hell you could mistake My Boyfriend for a rhythm title. The very same repetitive, almost foreboding track loops over and over during every second of the game. In fact, I'm looping some OC remixes in an attempt to detox myself. Anyway, I passed the minigame with flying colors, as anyone who isn't brain dead could do. I tapped on my man's head again. To my dismay, NOW the game wanted me to collect ten hearts in order to "capture the heart of your fairytale prince!"

No, seriously. I couldn't make this shit up.

I got to work looking for the hearts, assuming it was going to take twenty years to find them, because shovelware fetch quests are usually designed to eat up as much time as possible, but oh wait, there they all were. To the left of my dream guy, all ten hearts were hanging out like stoners in a basement. Right there. Together. Oy. I collected them and flounced off to my man, hoping with all of my heart and soul that he would notice me. He did, oh GOD OF GODS, and we spoke. Given the glamorous choice of these words to use to express myself: pretext, embarrassed, and joy, I chose joy, because boy, was I enjoying this game! ;D After pointless small talk with the dreamboat, I realized that he was an enormous douchebag. He wasn't so sure that we could "hang" because he had to go "do some moves." That's right. He blew me off to go masturbate. WTF?

The day ended after a very uneventful afternoon. The next day, the best friend engaged in a conversation with me about the type of guy the rebel was and how I need to dress like he does, learn about his hobbies, and degrade myself to a few million ends so that I could earn his attention. Because men don't really care about you as person - they just want you to dress like them and parrot every single hobby they have taken up. That's the true secret to dating, girls. You heard it here first.

So I was gonna go along with it. That's right - was. Until I found myself suddenly inside a house. Apparently, the day had ended. My mother woke me up and instructed me it was time to go to school, also calling me "sweetie" an overabundance of times. Exploring the house led me to a random table with a plate of food on it. Approaching it, a loading screen appeared. It was then I took notice of the peculiar dating-sim/virtual pet stylings of the top screen. Seeing as there had been no mention or tutorial about it, I honestly didn't even think about it. I had just replenished my "health" bar. At least, I assume it was my health bar, as the game hadn't even bothered to properly explain that if you don't eat, shower, shit, shave, sleep, and (go to) school, you ROSE. Or raff. One of the two. Oh, now that changed everything. I wasn't just living life for a man anymore. Or maybe I was.



Best Friend called and asked that I meet her at the park to discuss how I can learn more about Rebel's hobbies (conveniently, skating) and how to dress like him so his friends will be impressed by how SUPA KAWAII I became overnight. I spoke to the mom, who wished me a safe trip, and headed out the door, hoping that the next three choice of words I would receive in an exchanged with Asswad McGee would be "go", "fuck", or "yourself."

Halfway down the street, the in-game cell phone rang. It was my mother.

"Where are you honey? I'm so worried about you! Come home! It's so late!"

Mom had gone batshit insane, out of her mind with grief, even though just five seconds prior I had been in the house and explaining my intentions. At this point, with much fervor I flipped the flimsy, terribly made switch on my Lite and declared My Boyfriend a total exercise in shit-shoveling. This game has got to be one of the most inane things I've ever had the displeasure of playing.

In retrospect, I knew from simply looking at the cover that it was going to be an atrocity. Guess what? I was right. Just another half-assed game "for girls" that will rot on retail store shelves until companies realize that no one actually wants to play a game called My Boyfriend. Not even little girls. Still, I could overlook the name and premise if it had any semblance of an actual, decent game instead of some pixellated blast of diarrhea out of the gaping asshole of some corporate bastard who thinks he knows anything about his consumers.

Let's review:

WHAT IS HORRIBLE ABOUT THE GAME

- Looping music, the entire way through. No voiceovers. Nothing. Not even a voice of reason to tell you to stop, drop, and run your ass away.

- This is a SIM that lets you pretend to have a boyfriend. I'll let that sink in.

- Terrible character models.

- This game is called My Boyfriend.

- Minigames are more like "flail on face buttons or touch anything with the stylus and win" endeavors.

- This is a sim that lets you pretend you have a real boyfriend. Did it sink in yet?

- Everything.

WHAT IS NOT HORRIBLE ABOUT THE GAME

- You might be able to customize your character. I didn't care to play long enough to find out, so fuck it - we'll do it live.

- If you are blind, deaf, and dumb, you can still manage to play it and get TEH HIGH SCOREZ.

- This section should really have a big "N/A" stamped across it.

So, guess what! This game was as bad as we thought it would be! Gather any available copies and burn them, or hand them off to naughty children to replace coal in their stockings at Christmas.

FINAL VERDICT

1/10 = shit sucks.

tl;dr: GET A REAL BOYFRIEND.   read


12:11 AM on 05.22.2014  

Brittany's The Tester Audition Song, Or How I Butchered "Snake Eater"



When I was applying to go on The Tester, as referenced in my last blog, I tried to make myself stand out in any way possible. The best way to do that, I thought, was to sing off-key deliberately to avoid copyright issues on YouTube and sing a horrible rendition of "Snake Eater."

I think we're at that level in our relationship where I can share it with you, Dtoid community -- this steaming, steaming pile of nonsense. It's horrific. And I am awful.   read


2:04 PM on 05.10.2014  

Ten RAD AS HAYLE things you didn't know about Brittany, part two



Hey there, space cats! Part two of my "ten things you didn't know" list begins now. If you missed the first half, check it out here. Kept you waiting, huh? Excuse me while I smoke like a chimney and put on an eyepatch.

6. I do my best to eliminate any traces of a Southern accent from my voice because I feel others think it's "expected" of me, living in Kentucky, but I like to slip in weird pronunciations for fun.



I live in Louisville, and yet people still ask me if we run around barefoot here, which makes me want to gouge my own eyes out. It's difficult to maintain a neutral accent having grown up here, but I make a valiant effort to disguise and completely eradicate any traces of a Southern dialect from my voice when it comes to professional communication. Until I get mad. I've been told I sound a little twangy when I get mad. And then you have me when I'm speaking normally or making fun my boyfriend, who is decidedly more Southern than me. I say "hayle" a lot, but then that might just stem from my love of this Whitest Kids U'Know sketch. Or Panty from Panty and Stocking. At any rate, I try my best to sound completely regionless, but I feel like it's a lost cause. Someday. When I learn German like I plan to do, maybe I can get rid of it then. Also, Bette Davis. Get some.

7. I was almost a contestant on The Tester.



Almost, as in I had to go through a couple different interviews with casting directors to be offered a spot, but I had a feeling I was going to be selected and decided to cut it short when I realized what kind of treatment female cast members were obviously going to be subjected to. To make a long story short, I declined further interviewing rounds. After campaigning for a few months, getting friends to vote for me, and recruiting others to get me on the show via popular vote (which Egoraptor ended up winning) I received a call from the casting director to set up an interview via webcam, during which I was asked about my breast size, "drama," and how people react to my penchant for "wild" accessories "living in the South." I knew I was about to become a stereotype, and while I played nice for the camera, I came out of the entire situation extremely offended by the casting director's unprofessional actions. It's been long enough since the incident that I feel like I can finally talk about it now and I may one day write a piece on it, but for now just know that I declined to maintain my integrity.

Why would I even consider such a thing? Back then, you have to realize I was looking for a break in the industry. I was hoping that someone, anyone would see me and my passion to write about games or that a testing job would catapult me into somehow affording a place in California so I could finally snap up the position of my dreams. It might have been cool for one fleeting moment to get on TV and add it to my resume, but in the end I realized it was dumb all along, and I really couldn't give a fuck less about testing video games. Never mind the fact that nothing about that show actually has anything to do with testing video games.

8. I have nine tattoos and I'm looking to get a whole lot more.



I divulged this on the forums, but I thought I would share with the FP crowd. I've got the sacrificial brand from Berserk on my upper left arm and Um Jammer Lammy on my right inner forearm. Purple Tentacle from Day of the Tentacle is on my left upper arm, and on my right upper arm I've got "Human After All," in reference to Daft Punk. My upper left thigh reads "Never Knows Best" and my right upper thigh has the Atomsk symbol, both from FLCL. My left ankle is home to a moogle tattoo, while my right ankle and calf have the renegade star from Mass Effect and a small cleaver. I need more. That's not enough. I can't wait to get my "Born to Win" tattoo. EXCITE. Also, for some reason the image is wide and it's not showing up all the way in this picture. Just ask me if you want to see the rest.

9. I'd love to try my hand at being a voice actress.



It's not that I think I have a good or unique voice or anything, or that I'm a good actress. I just think I could do a better job than some of the people they scrape from the bottom of the barrel or just ask to do voices because they're hanging around in the general vicinity of a microphone. I don't care what it is: low-budget indie games, hentai, cartoons, or what. I just want to land one role a la Cristina Vee and see my name in the credits. The only problem is I don't know where to find these types of gigs. I live in Kentucky as previously stated, which isn't exactly a mecca for voice acting. I don't have the money to fly around going to auditions and all that mess, and I don't have the time or funds for voice lessons. I just wanna wing it and do my best "LEON!" like Ashley from RE4 and see if I manage to land a role. But seriously. This is part of my bucket list, and I hope one day to see it come true.

10. I love anything tacky, gaudy, and loud -- especially clothes and accessories.



This is something I wear on a regular basis. I love huge necklaces, ugly earrings, colorful wigs and colorful hair, NES purses, Dreamcast backpacks, neon makeup, and lots of glitter. I'm embarrassing to walk around with. One day we'll meet in person, and you'll either be offended by how tacky I am or smiling like an idiot, because I'm gonna give you a big ol' "I'm-excited-to-be-at-Destructoid" hug, and all is going to be right with the world, God's in his heaven, I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes."

Also: Corgis are to Dale as Joshua Homme is to Brittany.



LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games   read


12:02 AM on 05.10.2014  

Ten RAD AS HAYLE things you didn't know about Brittany, part one



Hola, bounty hunters! I've been spewing words all over the FP for about a month or so now, and while I made an introductory blog a while back as well as a celebratory first forum post, I think it's high time I get in on this c-blog craze that's sweeping the Dtoid nation. We don't know each other very well, do we? And I don't like that. If we're going to be interacting on a daily basis like we do I want you guys to know the real me -- beyond my rabid love for Joshua Homme and gore. So I've rounded up ten things you may not know about me that are just politically correct enough to share publicly. They're just risque enough not to be considered vanilla so as not to actually offend or arouse any sort of anger among the masses. Here is a pretty benign list that you can read and ask me questions about if you're so inclined.

1. I've been writing about games and other forms of entertainment professionally since 2009.



I've been writing all my life, though. A long time ago in an elementary school far, far away, I ripped off the plot of a Sailor Moon episode, changed the name, and won a fiction contest at my school. I've changed a lot since those days. For instance, I don't carry smiley-face backpacks from Xhilaration and I don't think '90s aliens in Kikwear pants are cool anymore. I'm also 24 now, so there's that. 

I wrote my first amateur review one night between feverish LiveJournal scribbling and nonsensical gabbing with like-minded friends I met at Pwned.com. A good friend of mine back then decided she wanted to open up a blog, and I wanted in on it. The blog, dubbed Quarter-Circle Square, had a horrific default WordPress layout and I wrote about Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure after having just completed the game during an extremely buggly emulator runthrough to refresh my memory. It then dawned on me that, if I honed my talents, I could make money off of smashing keys on a keyboard until I began to form coherent sentences. The rest, as they say, was a long and tearful struggle to remain afloat in an industry in which you are expendable. And I have loved every second. I hope to continue loving it, 'cause I DON'T CARE~! I LOVE IT~!

2. I'm an anime/manga/VN/hentai fan.



This shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing as I'm the community manager at Japanator, but I harbor a passionate love for all things Japanese. A few of my favorite series are Berserk, FLCL, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Saikano, Paradise Kiss, RahXephon, and Cromartie High School. I'm also into guro manga and extreme hentai, and my favorite visual novel is Saya no Uta. I also love Bible Black, Cool Devices, and Mai-chan's Daily Life in that regard. But I won't get off on a hentai tangent. Or will I?

As far as music is concerned, here's a somewhat varied sampling of my tastes: Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, Perfume, Capsule, Aural Vampire, Rip Slyme, m-flo, tommy february6, Orange Range, Tomoe Shinohara, and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Yeah, I like the sparkly, happy pop. It's so shiny and glittery and makes me feel like a GLAMOROUS MOVIE STAR, HAAAAAY.

3. I have the eating habits of a late '90s kid in middle school.



That is to say, I eat Spaghetti-Os, ketchup and rice, crave Surge, and indulge in Nick-L-Nip wax bottle candies whenever I can find them. Pepperoni pizza Lunchables are the food of the gods. I also like spaghetti and scrambled eggs. I'm not proud of this fact, but I love my childhood foods. One day I'll be an adult. Probably. And I'm a pro mode kid chef. I eat my Spaghetti-Os cold, straight out of the can, and the shaped ones taste much better than the regular Os. That's really the same with all pastas. Tell me angel hair doesn't have a more pleasing texture than regular fat spaghetti. It ain't happenin'.

I also like vienna sausages, ramen, and strawberry Quik sprinkled on toast as well as potato salad with no relish. God, it's all so gross and I love it. That there's gon' be my last meal. All of the stuff I mentioned in separate courses. It's going to be fantastic.

4. I love surrealism.



Surrealism is kind of my go-to when it comes to various forms of media. It doesn't even have to be classified as true surrealism. If it fits the description ever so loosely, I'm probably going to be interested, especially in the work of David Lynch and Twin Peaks. I didn't grow up a Twin Peaks girl, but I fell in love with it about 8 years ago while working as a medical transcriptionist. My schedule didn't allow for much free time, but when I had an hour to spare I blazed through the series like nobody's business. I'm proud to say I'm now a lifelong fan. Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive are other Lynch favorites, and his short films are excellent. I also love the French film Fantastic Planet. Oh man. Just watch it.

5. Right now, I'm using a clip that Jon St. John (the voice of Duke Nukem) recorded for me as my voicemail greeting.



What can I say? Hail to the king, baby. Been a fan since childhood. Hear it here, if you're so inclined.

That's it for the first part! Come back in a day or so for part two!

LYLAS,

Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games   read







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