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About
Cassandra Khaw is one of those people who takes pride in the fact she's a full-time, hardcore geek. She claims to be capable of reading binary still and spends too much time rewriting her code. By day, she's a PHP programmer who moonlights as designer. By night, she's either MUDding, in a cybercafe or practicing street dance. She can also be bribed with penguins and brownies. Right now, she's webmistress and columnist for TK-Nation as well as a contributing writer at JayIsGames.

Now that the formal introduction's out of the the way; hey there! I write. I code. I do a lot of things. But mostly, thanks to both my regional situation and the ethics at my work place, I write about things that won't get the censorship board breathing down my neck. On the surface, I'm your average inhibited Chinese person living in South-East Asia. Underneath, there's a raw, seething ball of rage and -- well, you get the idea.

No self-censorship here and probably a lot of irate thoughts pertinent to things I've seen or written elsewhere. Enjoy the verbal flailing.
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So, good people at Destructoid, it's something like this.

Writing a post like this is usually something I'd wrinkle my nose at. Heck, I'm looking down my own nose at me for it. However, certain family-related things, came up and I've never been prideful enough to, well, lay down my pride and ask people for a little bit of help.

I'm looking for extra work.

No, nothing illegal, damnit, those days are long behind me (I might tell that story one day). But, you know, work. Freelance work. I'll even take contractual work if they're willing to relocate my ass from the equator. But yes, primarily freelance work. Right now, I do video game journalism and I come with a pretty decent network of connections and a reliable track record. But, you know, I get it - that's not the easiest business to get into.

I also do websites. Php and mySQL based stuff, hard-coded into your server, hand-rolled to your specifications. I'll even throw in tastefully done animation via jquery, if you like. I know W3C, can tailor design to various browsers and even do the design for you myself if you're in favor of minimalism and corporate looks.

I know a few of you are probably going, 'EH.' right now but, you know, it's cool. I would to. But, sometimes, you've got to do what you got to do. I've got what I got right now but it isn't enough, not to deal with the family matters that are cropping up. I'll do anything for these people so you can work me like a dog.

Just make sure my hide fetches a fair price for 'em after.

People with leads, jobs, pointers, requests for my portfolio and good-luck wishes can hit me up at: casshirek [at] tk-nation [dot] com.










I'm a girl gamer, hear me roar!

No, wait. That's not what I meant.

Calling this a response piece to some of the articles I've seen written on Destructoid here would be stretching the truth substantially. From a recent diatribe on why one person cannot stand hearing about girl gamers anymore to one woman's impassioned speech about her love/hate relationship with the culture, there's a lot to think about it.

It's 6.00am in the morning and I'm sort of stuck in a cybercafe right now and feeling rather whimsical. I live in Malaysia, a country that's a veritable melting pot of cultures and thought streams. We feature picturesque villages and skyscrapers within bare hours of each other. Our national monuments are flanked by buildings from World War 2. We're a growing country, a country I'm actually damn well proud of in spite of how many issues it has but you know, we're still Asian.

Sorta. Kinda. Hey, I'm allowed to stereotype! I'm squinty, yellow-eyed and incapable of pronouncing the word 'three' too.

In spite of how there is a growing acceptance of female gamers within this region, it's still something that is often greeted with curious expressions and dubious looks around here. Worse yet, if you're a competent player, you'll often be challenged to a duel to the death. And you know, I do mean, duel to a death - these guys don't let up.

I have a close friend who will but one squawk in indignity when I've achieved a winning streak and will pull all stops to win. He stares at my screen, he'll poke at my ribs, he'd do pretty much everything to gain an advantage. Another friend is less blatant about his stance on women. He tells me it's perfectly normal to see girls play but won't fail to express his indignity when he gets gunned down too many times at Counterstrike.

When they tell me about all-girl gaming teams in a competition, the sentence always sounds something like this, 'they're ACTUALLY all girls.' What's wrong about women lacking extra genitalia? I wasn't aware that was something that should be held against us.

I could rant about this more, but I think it's something more than a few people have bashed to death. Looking at everything that's been written so far, I'd like to believe there'd be a day that a similar amount of acceptance will dawn over here in Asia. Failing that, I'd just like to observe there's a legitimate reason behind our complaints, damnit! It's not just us attempting to hide behind the gender.

Well, not around here anyway.

Most times.
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Christmas.

It's the time of giving, of sharing, of gift exchange and forgiveness. It's also the time for stuffing yourself silly with whatever goodies are arrayed on the table for you. Like every other celebration in the year, Christmas is also an excuse to make a glutton of yourself. Of course, having said, that I suppose this is probably the worst time for a post like this.

Seriously, Santa, I'd really like a good-looking gamer dude packaged under my tree this year.

Okay, he doesn't have to be a male model but he has to be -- what? Why are you looking at me like that? If you're wondering why on earth I'm purportedly bashing on the masculine section of the gaming community, I'm not. Well, not really.

Over the last few years, we've heard nothing but a constant stream of 'aren't there any hot gaming girls out there?'. Over and over, those words have been spoken. When one is presented to the world, everyone's quick to doubt her overall perfection. Don't get me wrong; I definitely don't see anything wrong with it. I like pretty things too. I like the idea of a guy I can compete against, someone who'd kick my ass at a game then tell me exactly how he did it. I'd also like him to be active enough to go dancing with me in the club, be fit enough to make my friends envious and all the things any normal woman wants.

You gamer guys have been lucky. You've seen proof that hot gamer chicks exist. My question this Christmas Eve is, what about us gamer girls? We'd like to have the same. We'd like to see a listing of the hottest men in gaming as well. We'd like raunchy shots that border on not-safe-for-work too. Granted, there's been some but not many. Where's the rest, guys?

Hot gamer guys. Myth or fact. What's your opinion on this?








So, how do you tell your grandparents that people pay you to write about things they can't understand?

It's been a few days since I last wrote anywhere but I blame it on the fact that I went off to visit estranged relatives. Even if the trip is several weeks before, you find yourself enduring a certain amount of twitchiness. After a lot of uncertainty, a little bit of grief and no small amount of terror, I went to see him.

My grandparents are old. They're also senile. Well, borderline senile. At the age of ninty-four, it was pretty amazing to see my grandfather flippantly tell me the currency exchange rate of the sterling pound. Hell, I follow the Forex and I can't muster that much easy understanding myself. But while I was there, they also asked me a few other questions. You know, the normal things; who are you, whose your daddy, where do you live, what do you do.

I told them people paid money to read about video games. That I was kinda like a reporter except that I only ever got to see virtual fires.

They blinked.

It wasn't the reporter part that bothered them, mind you. They understood that just fine. But it was the concept of video games that they had so much issue wrapping their minds around. These were old people, old people who saw games as things like chess and poker and all those things you associate with the roaring twenties. The notion of actually interacting with the television outside of changing channels and volume baffled them.

Eventually, we figured out a way to explain to them about how things work but it got me thinking. In another seventy years, where will technology put us? When my grandchildren put on ear pieces and see the entire world change into a digital realm, would I understand? On one level, I'm guessing it's probable. I mean, we have fiction. But, you know, so did my grandparents. It didn't make seeing the new world impossible.

We go about lives without noticing the little idiosyncrasies common to our generation. I stare at a dictionary and immediately, my mind goes 'where's the search button'. I laughingly twist jokes about World of Warcraft and call people 'noobs' when I'm frustrated and I have no problem using a mouse the right side up.

But is it really that natural? Looking at it from an outsider's perspective, the very idea not only seems foreign but almost alien. A mouse is a rounded piece of plastic on the table; how is it the gateway to a new world? There are a hundred letters on the keyboard - how do you keep track of them long enough to even type on them?

Seventy years in the future, they might be using music or smells to explore their idea of the Internet. Where is it going to leave us? In the dust, yes, but how far behind in the dust? Worse yet, what if the world backpedals into an industrial age without such things? Could we live crippled by the lack of computers?










It's going to be a long day and things haven't been at their brightest for a while. I'm going to be uncharacteristically hyper (atually, wait, would that be characteristically instead?) dramatic about things and I hope you'll excuse that.

I had an ex once a few years back that I was extremely fond of. We both played World of Warcraft. We were both dating in real life; naysayers, you hush, it wasn't one of those weird new-fangled long-distance things.

He was a troll hunter, I was a Blood Elf warlock and good god, he was one of the most insanely jealous people that I had ever met in my life. For a long while, he would do his level best to ensure that I paid attention to him and no other person asides from him. Arguments would flare whenever he logged on and he found me in a party, incapable of being invited to his. Similarly, not immediately inviting him to a group I had formed would also be instrumental in more drama. Oh, how he'd shout because his name bubble wasn't positioned next to mine.

Quests had to be done together. We had to progress at the exact same rate. If I made the mistake of advancing a single bubble ahead, he'd rant and rave for hours on end. But it really wasn't until he insisted I stand on the same cobble stones as him in any given raid that matters got really, really silly.

Actually, in retrospect, that wasn't so much dramatic as it was a rather funny bit of recollection.

After going out with that particular idiot, I haven't been able to really stomach gaming with a significant other unless I'm either a) on the opposite team or b) we're questing in vastly different zones. I've lost that ability to want to immerse myself in the virtual world with my significant other; a somewhat odd thing compared to the amount of digitized loving I see normally.

What about you, guys? Got any horror stories that put YOU off playing with your beloved too?
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Excuse the complete lack of refinement there but, yeah, words cannot quite describe how absolutely rapturous I feel in the wake of these recent announcements.

Sourced from DIY Gamer, it seems that the fine people responsible for Stonesense have finally made one of the decade's most under-rated game, well, accessible. Dwarf Fortress is cool. I mean, seriously, no holds barred, one of the most imaginative yet punishing sand box games out there.

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with this little piece of genius, Dwarf Fortress basically requires players to eke out a living in a world they've downloaded from somewhere. The consequences of your current game, it seems, will carry through to all other games that are played out in that universe. In the beginning, players are given seven dwarves (gee, how appropriate) to work with. These dwarves will haves actual lives; they will have careers, fall in love, grieve, have children and sustain horrific injuries on even the most delicate of extremities.

As the game progresses, the world will expand to include neighboring nobles, insane tinkers and occasional volcanic eruptions. All in all, it sounds like the kind of thing that all the other God games want to grow up to be. There is, however, one problem.

It kind of looks like this:



Not exactly the prettiest thing in the world now, is it? With graphics like that, it really is just too hardcore for everyone but the most persistent. However, those of you who have been wanting to play the game but have issues with the visual presentation will now have something to look forward to. As mentioned earlier, Stonesense has done some great things here.



See? Shiny isometric visuals. What's there not to love? There also a repository for modders and contributors to showcase their work and for fans to pick up new additions to their latest game. It still has some distance to go but I'm more than thrilled at what we're seeing now.

Source: DIYGamer
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