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2 hour ago - 11:55 AM on 08.27.2014

I read Lev Grossman's The Magicians this week, and I think you should too. 

The Magicians is about Quentin Coldwater, a bright young man just on the cusp of entering adulthood and exhibiting a scarily accurate portrayal of depression. Despite his impeccable student record and strong collegiate prospects, Quentin is a dour, sullen man who is desperately searching for something, who stays awake at night waiting for the day when he'll start living his “real” life. He's obsessed with the Fillory series of books (a thinly disguised in-universe version of the Narnia series) and is given to escapist fantasies where he's whisked away from the slow steady press of a life of filling out collage applications and watching the girl he loves neck with his best friend, to a world of magic. Then one day, it actually happens. And it sucks.

If you go into this novel thinking your going to be reading another fun fantasy story, it's going to punch you in the gut and laugh. This is a full bore deconstruction of the age old geeky fantasy book. It takes Narnia and Hogwarts and fills them up with real people - the kind of weirdos who would actually have the brains, guts, and various personality disorders to attend and survive a school dedicated to breaking reality over its knee. It makes magic strange and dangerous and decidedly something that probably shouldn't be taught to a bunch of angst filled horny collage kids who drink too much. 

The Magicians examines the practical problems of being a magic-man in a muggle world that most fantasy series gloss over or play for laughs. How exactly do you tell your parents you're blowing off University to go study at an “eccentric trade school” that will teach you how to animate glass figurines and make levitate your desk? What about the process of learning magic? If all it takes is waving around a little stick and speaking some bastardized Latin, why isn't everyone a wizard? So the obvious answer is that magic is actually really hard. More than hard, it's BORING. Imagine if every class you took in collage was calculus mixed with computer science and taught in Greek. How long would it be before you were considering opening your wrists as a favorable alternative to slogging through the required reading? And for that matter, what exactly do you DO when you graduate from magic-school? It's all hush-hush, so you can't just go use your flashy fireball spell to impress that cute coffee barista, you have to pretend to be an ordinary, uninteresting dude. Going off to become middle management at a textile distributor doesn't seem like a challenging career path after you've split the seams of the universe open and gazed upon the infinite mysteries within. It seems the most common post-grad past time for wizards is to experiment with drinking before noon. 

It isn't hateful. The book doesn't delight in ripping apart the fantasy genre or seem overly malicious about it, it's just a bitter spoon of medicine. A fantasy novel not written for children, but for people in their mid-20's and early 30's who might be coming to grips with some harsh realities in their own life. Who realize that maybe THIS really is all there is, that you're getting older and it's getting less and less likely that a friendly owl is going to drop by with your ornate invitation to a better world clutched in its beak.  

I think a lot of us, especially millennials who have inherited a broken economy, are saddled with student debt from courses that landed us primo jobs folding shirts in the mall, and are struggling to actually make it as adults still secretly cling to these fantasies. Maybe not necessarily getting shipped off to Narnia or the Forgotten Realms, but the idea that somehow, even though you don't know how and can't really describe it, one day your life is going to be perfect. You'll get that one chance you always needed and turn it all around. You'll finally find that secret talent buried inside that will change your life. You'll discover an old rusty key that opens up the locked cupboard that's been sealed up in your basement for years and what's inside will change everything. 

I see some criticism online that Quentin doesn't learn anything at the end. That the book does a ruthless job of dismantling the escapism of fantasy, but never provides an uplifting ideal to take its place. I think those people weren't paying attention. If this was just a story about nihilism and giving up and being a miserable twat, I wouldn't be recommending it. What Quentin finds (all too late) is that there isn't a magic way out. That meaning and happiness in your life won't just flutter down from on high and land in your lap, that you have to make it yourself and with the people in your life. That it's hard, tiring, and will never live up to the ideal in your mind, but it can still be achieved. 

Escapism is a theme in games as much as it is in fantasy. In fact you could argue that the entire point of video games is escapism, being someone else for a little while, being capable of doing amazing things, or having the freedom to go nuts. I don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but I think a lot of us are attracted to games, or at least have stayed with games as we get older, because we feel like there is something missing in our lives. They fill some hole in the center of our being that threatens to expand and swallow us unless we do something to stave it off. That's not a bad thing, a little escapism is healthy. But it pays to remember every now and then that it's no substitute for the real thing. 

I suppose it's similar in that way to Ready Player One, a book I've previously recommended in my caps and might be more approachable to video game fans. But where Ready Player One is a largely fun romp through 80's nostalgia, cyberpunk trappings, and video game worship, The Magicians is slower, sadder, and ironically for a book that spends a lot of time in an imaginary land, more real. I'd say check them both out, maybe one after the other for contrast, and see which one resonates with you more.

* - Terry 309 injects his eyeballs with steroids and gets wild with F-Zero.

* - Maybe the payoff wasn't what he hoped for, but Nesscoat did a great job of cracking Hohokums code.

* - Tony Ponce ponders how cool a female Link would be. Sadly, the comments predictably go exactly where you would expect them to go and no reasonable conversation can be heard over the din of "SJW, SJW, SJW, WHAAAA!".

A - Mother 3 is a heck of a game.

D - Always interested in seeing how games get made. Coming from the art designer though, I would have liked to see some more interesting screengrabs.

T - Character roster, mechanics, and quality aside, I mostly expect Pokken Tournament to be super weird.

L - Cute little Metroid reference hidden in DK:TF.

C - Hey it's a podcast that's kinda sorta video game related, but mostly about four people you don't know talking about the Twitter arguments they had earlier in the week. That sounds, well actually that sounds fucking awful.


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"Personally I Like Dreamgasms, because dreamgasms are best gasms." - ShadeofLight

As bbain mentioned in Friday's Cblog Recaps, there's a new face on the crew, and it's yours truly: the one and only Dreamweaver! I'll be in charge in summarizing the Saturday slot for you to read on Sunday mornings when you're kicking back on the couch, trying to take it easy with a cup of coffee in one hand, the newspaper in the other, and your fuzzy pink slippers on both feet... so rest assured that your precious blogs will (hopefully) all be recapped that day: I should mention that I'm new at this so, if I happened to screw up for some weird reason, try not to hold it against me. Now, I know this section is usually reserved for ramble ramblings about our daily lives... but since this is my first post as a recapper anyway, rather than telling you how much I'm loving Akiba's Trip, I suppose I could better introduce myself a little bit by telling you how I got into the Community Blog section of the site.

For the longest time, I was a front page lurker: I would be the person who would casually say a snarky sentence or two but mostly keep to myself. See, back then, this site didn't use Disqus for its comment section, so if someone ever replied to me, I was, for the part, ignorant... but once Disqus has been implemented, it has really made communicating with other Dtoiders a real snap: just simply sign in, look at the notification tab and see who replied to what comment, then head over there post-haste to respond. Once Disqus has been introduced to this site, I've been much more vocal and friendly towards others, and that finally made me decide that, hey: this site seems to have a wonderful community, so why not join the forums? Well, that was the plan, but things never go according to those things (which makes me wonder why we ever come up with them...): apparently, I had to make a new account to use the forums of this site, and while it isn't a hassle, I didn't like the idea of keeping two separate accounts on one site. It's all for the better though, because this is when I turned to writing blogs to keep in touch with the community!

Truth be told though, I was a selfish asshole starting out: I was the kind of person who wrote blogs and never commented on anyone's but my own. Yeah, I was that guy... but since about a year or two ago, I decided to better contribute to the community by actually reading the things that other people posted because I came to a realization: I work hard on my blogs, and it's disappointing when no one reads them... so I started to imagine what it feels like when other people have slaved over their articles and yet get completely shafted. While I can't force everyone, or hell, anyone to read someone's blog, I can be responsible for reading other people's blog myself, and I have been: I've been reading more and more blogs lately (I, er, admittedly have more free time than you think...), and I've been commenting on the ones I can. With all that said,, you can kind of figure that why I suppose trying my hand at recaps wouldn't be so much of a hassle: I'm reading the blogs anyway, and it's not hard to link them, so I just decided to put two and two together!

Hopefully, I'll try to stay on as long as possible: I go back to college next week and I'm pretty deathly afraid... but I don't imagine it would eat up every single second of my life that I can't kick an hour on a Sunday to recap. I've also been weirdly creatively slumped lately as well; I've been meaning to write a blog about how much I love Akiba's Trip, since I spent over 20 hours on it within the first few days I got it... but I can't seem to find the right words to say: I want my love for the game to be apparent, but when I look at what I wrote, I just shake my head and start from scratch. My slump is also affecting my personal project, and it's frustrating: I try to force it, but then I feel like my writing's being "phoned in", and if I try to clear my head and take my mind off of it, all I can think about is how much time I'm wasting not working on it and that stresses me out... Ugh, lately it seems everyone on Dtoid is feeling affected lately, and even some people I know in real life, so I'm hoping this is some freaky cosmic coincidence that will pass. Soon.

* - Marche100 tells us a lovely story of his shift as a security guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. I enjoyed it so much that he earns the first Top Sauce I ever gave out for being highly original, creative in presentation... and letting me know that Rule 34 of animatronic animals exist. Now I know how I'm spending my Sunday.

A - TikiGhost comes back to blog about his thoughts on videogame news like the recent events involving Phil Fish and Zoe Quinn, how he feels about depression and Robin William's passing, and whether Destiny will be the next milestone in gaming.

A - SpielerDad is tired of seeing the same old Madden that EA Sports churns out every year, so he offers his own suggestions of which sports should have games. I don't know about you, but a game that combines both playing chess and boxing sounds awesome: just think of the audience it caters to!

A - CrusaderX seems to think that the Zoe Quinn controversy isn't getting enough attention when it's a huge discredit to the integrity to game journalism when prominent people are not only defending her, but are even claiming that she's the victim.

S - Number 26 of The Nintendette's Daily Easter Eggs features a such blast from the past that it remains on the wall: did you spot it during your trip to the Dark World in Super Mario 64?

T - Fenriff's 8 Video Game Awards that he just totally made up? ...Sounds legit. But hey, don't take my word for it: he hands Naoto of Persona 4 the best waifu award, and that, in itself, is something we can all agree on.

T - SqueakyGreen is taking the plunge and trying to marathon the Metal Gear Solid games before the release of Phantom Pain... for the first time ever, I might add! So, wanna guess what's the first game on the list? Why, the original MGS released on the PS1, of course! Did you guessed right? Liar.

T - Derek Pietras has an addiction of buying cheap videogames as I do buying cheap hookers. The result? We both got a backlog that we're not ever going to see again.

T - Sonic429 tells us why he's not a PC gamer and will probably stick to consoles forever. He weighs the pros and cons of both sides, but somehow I don't think that that's going to matter: PC gamers can get pretty... passionate about their platform.

T - Segastardust shares with us his disappointment over the Syndicate reboot that came out in 2012. He said he bought it for one Canadian dollar and it took him only three hours to beat, so I guess no real loss there, huh?

R - TroyFullBuster writes his thoughts about The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds in the form of a review. Should you hop back into the world of Hyrule, or should you simply sever the link between your world and theirs?

R - Number8Axel isn't having fun with Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition: he finds a lot of the game to be so boring that he has to listen to a podcast to play them. Did the Reaper of Souls claim another victim?

R - Gamingnerd15 writes a short review of Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited. Is it a promise worth keeping, or was there a reason why it wasn't fulfilled the first time?

V - FrankHowley shows us a video of what it would be like if Gamestop opts to hand out crab meat instead of cash. Something tells me I should just take my business elsewhere because telling people you are going to give them crabs isn't exactly a good thing to advertise.


By the way, I changed my avatar, but it looks really dark: anyone know of a way to artifically brighten an image? I took it with my iPhone, if that matters.
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Sorry for the late caps, guys. I'm still busy getting all nice and settled in DC, which is progressing slowly but surely.

I have my own place now and it's very nearly set up, I went to my first couple of classes here and they seem pretty intense compare to the laid-back European teaching methods I'm used to, and I finally had time to go out at night over the last week. DC is definitely starting to become my home away from home at an amazing pace; I'm already getting worried that five months here won't be nearly enough time to see everything, do everything and meet everyone.

Oh well, I can always come back, right?

* - OpiumHerz has another wake-up call for Destructoid. We seem to be needing a lot of those these days.

* - Games must install certain limits to their worlds; you can't go everywhere. Redheadpeak takes a look at how to do that without breaking immersion.

* - Perfidious Sinn sucks at Ultra Street Fighter IV, and the game's not about to help him get better.

* - Put another coin in bbain's jukebox and you get some of the greatest Final Boss themes in video games.

* - Whatever you may think of Sonic games nowadays, there's some amazing music to be found throughout the series.

A - Terry 309 has some major problems with the directions the Warcraft plotline is going.

A - Video games can be emotional if they try; gajknight has some excellent examples.

A - Might 4Chan maybe NOT be this amazing shithole of a place?

S - In today's Easter Egg hunt, Adam Jensen is Forever Alone.

- Somewhere among those buildings is a room with my name on 3DS in it.

I - Get added to this Dtoid meet-up App, so you'll always know what the guys are up to!

N - The upcoming deals in a PSN sale may have been leaked.

V - Star Wars has had a huge presence in video games over the years. So much so that JordanLloyd is already up to part 4 of his retrospective.

T - Steering wheels in Grand Theft Auto are serious business.

F - CarbonRevenge is up to something machinima-y.

- IRL Fennekin at the Museum of Natural History

- ShadeOfLight
May you always find water and shade

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Well this week was super shitty for the video game industry. I don't even know what to say about it. I hate that I share this hobby with some of the most terrible, selfish people. But at least there are plenty of cool people playing games too. I'm thankful for that, at least. I just wish I could tune out the bad seeds.


Anyway, I'm back to covering just Fridays for the recaps. Expect to see a new face tomorrow, and be sure to give him a warm welcome! :)

* - Luckrequired compiled this awesome blog explaining how to properly utilize Dtoid's blog editor! Check it out if you're having trouble formatting your blogs!

* - Do the memories of the electric seaweed from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on NES still haunt you to this day? If so, then you might enjoy this blog!

* - El Dango recounts some of his favorite boss fights! I'm sure everyone has their favorite boss fight memories to share!

E - taterchimp wants to know what game you'd like to see him stream next on Streamtoid!

F - Friday Night Fights on Xbox + Back to school!

F - Friday Night Fights on Playstation + Nothing...

T - KirkCameronCrowe thinks P.T. is the scariest thing he's ever seen!

T - Alphoyson enjoys Kerbal Space Program but has a fear of open space. An interesting conundrum.

T - GoldenGamerXero gives his thoughts on Skullgirls while the game is currently on sale.

$ - August 22nd UK releases and bargains!

C - Pretty nice article about the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, but it could use a lot of editing.

C - The Nintendette shares an easter egg from Fire Emblem: Awakening, but apparently forgot something important at the end of her blog.

F - This guy is painfully formal. Maybe there's more personality in his videos, but I'm kind of afraid to check them out.

F - This guy seems to think it's a good thing that Phil Fish got hacked, because it finally made him leave the industry. It makes me so incredibly sad that some people think this way...

- bbain


I decided to hop back into Mass Effect 3 and no, it's not to try to vaporize on Gold with my min-max'd Flamer Geth Soldier who pretty much scorewhores the scoreboard, but I do miss that. Believe it or not, I left its DLC unplayed for years until now. I bought all its DLC on sale except for Omega, which promptly never went on sale. But hey, the most important parts were still available to me so I gave them a go and boy did I realize how much I missed this universe. Citadel alone was exactly what reviews said it was: one big cheesy goodbye to all your favorite characters in a festive party. My quarian girlfriend got drunk, I found two war addicted aliens sprawled on separate floors with massive hangovers, everyone made fun of the only dance animation Sheperd has, and I got one last picture to remember the party by before I inevitably go back to war with giant robotic cuttlefish.

Other than that, I've found myself getting sucked back into the fighter's mindset. Under Night In-Verse Exe Late is out on Japanese Playstations so I've been getting drip fed YouTube videos of prominent pro fighters playing import copies online and it makes me wish French Bread could bring it to PC so I don't have to get a PS3 for it. KOFXIII is available on the Humble Jumbo Bundle so of course I got it to try something that's not Ultra Street Fighter IV (though I might go back to try Honda). And I've been seeing Atlus release tutorial guide videos on some returning characters. Kanji for example sacrifices defense in favor of a stabler gameplan. Kanji is terrible at neutral, not having very good options at opening up his opponent and starting momentum, so in Ultimax Ultimate he's getting a better autocombo and better air approach, but in return, his reversals are now guaranteed fatal counterhit (ouch). It still sounds like theygave Kanji much needed juice in exchange in other places, while they just gave Akihiko more tools without strictly changing him besides from giving him more options. Remember being able to do Cyclone Upper three times in Awakening mode? Well Shadow Akihiko, after shadow berserk, can do it five times (five uppercut commands, technically eight if you count his actual uppercuts because SP Cyclone Upper is an automatic triple uppercut).

But fuck it, who am I kidding. I just want French Bread to bring UNIEL over to PC sooner than later because check this shit out.

Seth isn't played often because he has the lowest health in the game. He has like, Strider levels of health. But he's also dependent on vortex like Ibuki,the key difference being his vortex looks cool as hot balls in action. Look at this Seth player go. He doesn't care at all. He just presses buttons and presses his advantage with the speediest little motherfucker in the game. And vortex is more fun to watch in games like UNIEL because of OTG and the various quick standing mechanics. Stay on the ground and attempt to throw off vortex timing and you can just get OTG'd. Quick stand to put yourself on defense but that also plays into Seth's hands of doing a quick and dirty vortex that leaves no time for you think about a good defense. I love watching this game in action and want a peace of it. It makes Blazblue look like Mortal Kombat.

Well hey, at least Smash is out in October.

Also, catch me on Streamtoid on Monday at 2pm PST. It's called Scrubtoid and I think I'll try Delver, Eldtrich, or Super House of Dead Ninja to get my piece warmed up. I still need to prepare some cut card pictures to use in case I need to stop playing suddenly but of course this is assuming I finish some important homework in time.


* - My thought: Samus' tankini is canon so deal with it [dealwithit.gif]

* - Scholes got a slump. NOT DR. SLUMP THOUGH. IT'S NEVER ABOUT GODDAMN DR. SLUMP *pout*

* - BENNY DISCO IS OUTRAGEOUS. Actually, its about outrage, but Benny Disco is not OUTRAGE

A - Riobux tries disseminating how to portray mental health well

A - The fine art of the grindhouse game with Terrible Uncle

P - PStoid is recording in the past!

A - Big old nope towards progressive change in the industry but at least we know we're in a shit bag, right?

S - Zuckerhunder suffers from depression

D - Magic Miguel update for August. Still magical and still pumping along

N - Yokai Watch is finally on its way to us gross Americans

V - I'm not saying it was aliens, but Metal Gear Solid IV aliens

V - Spoilers: this video talks about announcing spoilers

V - Video quality faq user guide copy and paste el gato hoss delgato



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Took a dip into the weird end of Steam lately. Goat Simulator, Five Nights at Freddy's, Jazzpunk. I can feel my brains sliding out of my ears as we speak.

Goat Simulator is ridiculous and it knows it. Mixing parts of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater with dada-ists sense of humour and a distinctly “Euro-dev” look and feel, they created something weird and wonderful and bizarre. Everything feels like it's held together with shoestrings and hope, with bouncy physics and simple AI. Things “break” constantly. Leave your spastic rocket-pack on a little too long and your goat will get a stretched out Slenderman look. Fire enough softballs at the townsfolk from the automatic pitcher you got stuck in your back and the game sputters and slows to a crawl. Cause a big enough explosion and the whole damn thing goes haywire. I'm not even sure if “breaking” is the right way to describe it. The game basically exists in a constant state of “mildly broken” and it's genuinely hard to tell sometimes if something is “broken” broken, or “broken as intended”. 

It's fantastic and delightful. A playpen filled with small distractions, dumb goofs, and one-off oddities. It's a pure play experience like you don't often see in today's big budget, heavily scripted, theme-park attraction type games. I'm not saying Goat Simulator is a “good” game, but I will say it's a “fun” one, and that might matter more in the long run.

I bought Five Nights at Freddy's at the request of my girlfriend after she saw a few minutes of it on a Let's Play. I guess it's true, sometimes you hurt the ones you love.

Freddy's is weird. Like really weird. The basic premise is that you're the new Night Watchman of essentially a haunted (?) Chucky Cheese knock-off restaurant. Only you're not really worried about buglers or vandals, you're there to keep an eye on the attractions, the animatronic cast that has the peculiar habit of roaming the halls of the restaurant late and night and attacking anyone they come across. 

It almost seems safer to NOT have a Night Watchman at a certain point and just let them prance about.

From the entirely unsafe haven of the security room, it is your job to monitor the multiple poorly placed, and wholly unreliable, security cameras placed around the joint and make sure Freddy and friends aren't creeping up on you or getting into any other kind of mischief. They don't like to be watched and won't move if they know you're looking (how they know is a spoooooooky mystery naturally) so you're basically staring down these creepy mother fuckers as they lurk just outside your door. Did I mention you have limited battery power? The more you use the cameras, lights, and electronically locked doors, the faster you burn down the juice. Run out before 6:00 am and you're mascot-chow. 

Freddy's is super crazy. Kind of annoying to play to be honest, but what a killer idea. Probably worth the $5 I threw at it, and definitely worth it come the inevitable Steam sale where it will probably move for 99 cents. Keep it in the back of your mind next to all the other skeletons and centipedes and remember it when your looking for a spooking. 

Lastly, I've finally played a little bit of Jazzpunk.

Hey everyone? GO BUY JAZZPUNK.

I almost don't want to talk about it very much right now, I feel like I probably have a blog in me about it. I will say this though, I've never been more delighted by an aesthetic or opening movie. Five minutes in and I was already declaring Jazzpunk GOTY. 

* - In the great legacy of worthy Batman games, it's pretty much Batman for the NES, a huge long drought of terrible games you should never touch, and then Arkham Asylum. It took a long time for video games to do THE BAT right.

* - Glowbear shares her experience with depression and some advice. It can be educating and even helpful to play some of these empathy games, but be careful not to wallow in the depression miasma. After a certain point, you might be doing more harm than good.

S - Mark your calenders, its the anniversary of Too Human! Celebrate by treating yourself to a unskippable two minute long cinematic.

A - I love how nobody really seemed to care all that much about the Tomb Raider reboot until it became an Xbox exclusive, now there is a huge outcry. I remember the last TR coming out to modest fan reception and respectable, but not mind-blowing, sales. But hey, it's something to be upset about.

A - Fenriff looks back at the Breath of Fire series and sees which ones have held up, and which are best left to sweet, sweet memory.

A - This is kind of a wall of text, but the gist is “be excellent to one another.”

T - I will always check out cool free indie games. A sprite based modern Wing Commander rip-off seems like just the right ticket.

R - It's true that every story has two sides and you shouldn't believe everything you hear. That said, I think it gets hard to justify some of the shit going on in Ferguson. The whole “wait till you hear both sides of the story, btw, we won't produce the autopsy report for over a week and we're kicking out reporters, so just trust whatever we say when it's all over” seems real crazy to me. Whatever, this isn't the place to get into this kind of thing, but I didn't want to just recap this without commenting.

L - Oh Nintendo, such rascals.

- Recorded footage of me playing Freddy's

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