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I'm a bear who would steal your grandmothers teeth just to have a Knights of the Old Republic 3 game made.

For more about me (for whatever nefarious reason)

check out my Cblog Interview

I do videos on mine and Panza's Scary Granules Youtube

Methods of stalking can be found here, aren't I helpful!

My Work Cave

Some blogs I've posted that I'm proud of:

Pokťmon Evolution: Ethics in a fictional world

Dtoid Memories: How Dtoid helped a depressed bear

Death of the Arcade


We shouldn't be unable to include the disabled

Scary Granules Podcast
Player Profile
Xbox LIVE:stablezanerstar
Steam ID:zanerstar
Raptr ID:http://raptr.com/Glowbear/wall
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Recently with the death of†Robin Williams, depression has been discussed quite a lot. Also with the push of†Depression Quest†and ironically the scandal involving the personal lives of the creator†Zoe Quinn†and others (I won't spread the Burger and Fries blog because that's not necessary), the value and merit of the game has been discussed.

To be honest, I never really heard much about the world of depression before the past few years. I knew someone in University who suffered it and took medication. I didn't quite get it. I said the stereotypical line to myself "how can he be doing well in university, have a boyfriend, a car he adores, a loving network of family and friends" and yet he often finds himself in this black hole, he can't explain where he needs to be alone and take medication. I will say that will educating yourself is important in life, people cannot be blamed for simply not knowing the details of every illness and situation that all humans can/do go through. There's a difference between being unaware and plain ignorant.

It was my first encounter and it wasn't until 2 years later I would go through my own bouts. I don't suffer from clinical depression, but I do go through extreme cases of it. I endured it for a year straight, loss of hope, waning faith and it was all new to me. I'd been sad of course, but this was new, fresh, roaring with life and yet so empty and dead.
Then last year before Christmas I went through a pretty insane patch of it, that still occurs today. This time, something new hit me...anxiety. Oh fuck. I can't describe it gracefully. You kinda know it's coming and you want to fight it, you sit in a silent panic internally, willing it to subside and not to come back. I had to phone a close friend one night, just to talk to her, I was crying, I was desperate...and I was so frightened.

I'd like to also to just highlight that just because someone is not diagnosed with depression or suffering it due to a chemical imbalance, does not make the depression they go through any less harrowing or invalid for purpose of discussion.

I've†written before about how gaming can help you through low points. Another†cblogger has also shared their experiences. But while it's good to talk about these things, a lot can be said for not delving in to talks of depression as a topic, taking a back seat and playing video games like†Depressing Quest†and†Actual Sunlight, can have a doubled edge sword effect.†

I think it's perfectly ok and understandable to play these games that you can relate to or that can give you even a glimmer of insight, but on the other hand I would like to heavily promote the idea that it's also ok to†not†indulge in them.

Playing video games can help you when you're going through stages of depression, because you're playing something immersive that takes your mind off it. It doesn't fix anything, but it gives you a mental relief. I can play†Mass Effect, Pokťmon, Metro†or anything and just focus on getting through the levels, indulging in the story and for a little while not being bogged down in what I'm usually thinking when not heavily distracted.


I wouldn't ever play games like†Depression Quest, whilst being in a very dark place. I've started a playthrough of†Actual Sunlight†and I'm not sure if I want to continue. For me if I do, it will be to simply complete the game. Again if you do for whatever reason, then that's good, that's dandy. But for me I see it as a slippery slope, one that is letting†me†succumb even further. For others that feeling of understanding can make them, momentarily perhaps, feel less alone and so for that reason, I get it.

On the†Scary Granules Channel†I begun a play-through of†The Cat Lady. Unlike†Depression Quest†and†Actual Sunlight, this game is brutal in it's visceral, cerebral bluntness and gore. The game is like a shock of emotional, deathly lightning, that's how I felt when the initial subdued, bleak opening dialogue ended.

I decided to not go on any further after a certain point of the game. It was very close to home in the subject matter and I could get a feeling that no matter how this game ended, there would be no uplifting conclusion or aftermath, not really. The path being taken by our heroine, if you could call her that, was not one of redemption or resolve and upon reading the script for the remainder of the game I didn't want to play, I found out that my assumptions were pretty accurate. Though the elves and choices you make and characters you come across were a lot more morbid than I would have guessed.

Again this is a case of something having the ability to resonate with someone, but whether that leads to a positive or negative effect is wholly dependant on the individual.

Summary of things I've learnt under the "gaming and depression" umbrella:
There's a lot to be said for playing online multiplayer games when you're in a rough spot, this is coming from a 95% single player gamer. It's nice to play with friends or people who are cool online, for a brief moment, you kinda lose that feeling of loneliness.

Decide for yourself what is the best course when it comes to picking a game to play when you're depressed. Go with your gut and trust yourself whether you decide to play something where depression is the primary theme or decide not to. It's ok either way.

Don't beat yourself up or beat others for not knowing what you're going through. How could they, it's such a solitary, internal personal conflict.†

Play games for what they are, don't let the e-drama ruin that for you.

For those that are interested and not aware, though you probably are -†Depression Quest is free currently on Steam.†Despite the actions of the creator, that doesn't really encourage me one way or the other, not to at least give folks a heads up and decide for themselves.

So I'm giving another go at raising money for a good cause. Alcoholic Bears Not-So Anonymoose was a riveting raunchy success. We made enough money to buy even more booze than we had already.

But seriously, I'm posting here because I'd like to ask for any donation, even as small as £1 from anyone or if not spreading the word would be equally appreciated.


The plan is as follows:

Last time I organised an event called Inclusion Con, this time I'm making it a little bit more personal and instead of having to rely on companies ect, I just have to rely on myself. That can both be less stressful but also more daunting, because only I can let people down. But hopefully not.

I will be walking from Sligo/Galway to Donegal (they're places in Ireland don't ya know) and then climbing my home mountain Muckish, where I will camp out for a nght, fasting for 24hrs.

This is all for charity (Special Effect are one of the major charities dedicated to helping the inclusion of disabled gamers). So the money will all go to help people with disabilities get their kick-ass gaming on. It's also personal for me on an emotional and spiritual level, I suppose.

Cheers everyone!

The past few years in gaming have pushed forth many different topics and principles. Those who play video games complain, more as consumers, than as gamers and yet both are intertwined together. But what part of us expresses ourselves as one over the over and has one element been a more prominent and louder voice, on social media, forums and general consensus?

We can all agree, I would at least presume, that one universal nitpicking we all have with gaming is the cost and that the cost has fluctuated up a steady slope for some time now. I am personally surprised that people can not only afford the latest consoles that have come out, the Xbox One and PS4, but †also have a collection of games already amassed. But we don't know peoples financial circumstances, nor is it our business too. But be that as it may, we know one thing - the video game industry is taking the piss when it comes to their marketing strategies and their pricing systems.

Though there are a variety of areas in which this is apparent - take for example Playstation's current set up where by you can digitally rent a game for a stupid price that increases the longer you hold it, but overall it would be a wiser, more profitable decision for a gamer to buy the game fully to own, not lease or just wait for the price to drop at some point in the near future.†

But as I don't purchase digital games, outside of Steam and they aren't really shafting anyone themselves (though the masses of crap games, that aren't even full games in any right, that flood via Greenlight right now, really needs controlling) I am not affected by such silly and anti-consumer benefit marketing plans, I complete agree they are doing a disservice as opposed to what the companies behind them thought, we'd think they were doing i.e the opposite.

For me my own gripe comes with regards to pre-orders.†

The first time a video game pre-order really rattled me was when Batman: Arkham City was announced. Not only would it have multiple versions for you to choose from, but there were ridiculous exclusive locations implemented.†

For example: The yellow lantern Batman costume (which doesn't look that great but still) was only available at the time when purchased in stores in Australia. There were quite a selection of skins, that were only available depending on the individual purchase you made, the store choice, the location of some stores ect. Then of course there was the downright unimpressive†Catwoman DLC (not unimpressive because of the gameplay itself). That would not have been rubbed in our faces as much, if we didn't have to see Catwoman related trophies that unlocked achievements, littered throughout Arkham City when you played the game minus the DLC you needed to pay extra for.†

This goes on and on, we can mention the Day One DLC scandals that continue to occur and of course the kickstarter of them all, the one that got quite a lot of notoriety - the†Mass Effect 3 Prothean Day One†DLC ....but I will hone this piece in a little more, narrowing the crosshairs on what made me write this up.

Ubisoft....Ubisoft. I said this†
and I genuinely am starting to think it might be the case.

Assassins Creed†games have been churned out at an alarmingly rapid pace ever since†Brotherhood. Also funnily enough Brotherhood is one of the best in the series so far. But no sooner has one been announced, then the next has been given it's Amazon slot and image galleries across gaming sites have been filled.†

But before we even get a glimpse at the story elements that will crop up in the next full fledged game (white dude with some sort of Americanised version of an accent does stuff), we are exposed to the pre-order special collector editions. All of them. At once. Wham!

It's as if developers want us to care more about the cardboard box and piece of plastic (if you're lucky to get physical goodies) than we do the game. You know the thing that they've supposedly put a lot of hours, crafting, filling with virtual life, expanding on a fleshed out story that people talk about and wonder what will come next. What we see online or in store, that is attached to a hefty dollar/pound sign, is meant to entice and mean more to us than what is found within the game itself.

Though not exactly the strongest case for this notion - the†Alan Wake special edition†was one I looked forward to owning and am glad I have it. The game itself was unlike anything else I played and was very enjoyable and spooky to me. But within the contents of the special edition, the game itself, the thing that you will be spending most time with, you should be more focused on, was the most lazily, unlovingly packaged piece -

This is the Xbox 360 game case...yeah I thought I'd been given a standard PC version too at the time.

Now obviously†Alan Wake†didn't suffer from being part of a churned out franchise and the quality of it's overall collectors edition didn't negate the gaming quality.†Assassin Creed†games don't lack in technical quality either, but they do lack in using a massive bucket of options. They can steer their characters and stories in any direction, yet they overall stick to a very copy/paste formula. The same can be said of their marketing strategy. Yes the collector editions for each game is unique in style and gifts within, but as I said, we will see more information about what pulls of our wallets than we will of the game for certain periods. We are overloaded and while it is our decision to look up news of such things or how to spend our money, it doesn't mean that developers and stores don't have some†responsibility. If not in shamelessly trying to overdo it, then try to at least do so in a†way that doesn't make it feel like you neglect the product we all actually want, the one you got in to the industry to create to begin with.

These people work hard to create games that will stick with us forever, more than box covers.

Gamers are getting wise to these blatant tricks now, because so many companies have jumped on the overload "ooh look at all the shinies" bandwagon, that transparency has been obliterated completely. We know now that we have an option to wait it out and not only get all the DLC we want at a more affordable price but get it and the new full game at a cheaper price!†

When†Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition†came out, a new copy of that game, including all DLC was cheaper than buying just even the standalone copy when it first launched. If anything you;re doing yourself damage gaming companies. Ubisoft is trending quite a lot on social media for the wrong reasons. If it's not because they come across as lazy gits in the realms of diversification, it's their hyping and flooding of pricy collector editions for games.

Right now my†dilemma†comes with a much loved franchise of mine -†Dragon Age.†Inquisition†is†coming out soon and I want to continue with getting the Collector Editions (something I only do if I really am in to the game). But what they are offering and the price for it, is a let down. I don't know if gamers as a whole, want crazy big expensive swag. For me personally, I prefer funky, enjoyable trinkets and something that adds value to the game, maybe to your desk and overall is something I am excited to wait for from the postman.

Hurry the feck up and drop it!

Anyway, I just find it a bit shallow and irking, that in general, there's so many areas of the video gaming industry from both sides of the fence, that are clouded with controversy. This may be lower on the list, especially when there's sexism, exploitation and other scandals floating around, like a lumpy bigoted elephant, but it is still an issue. Pre-ordering is something that some people, like say†Totalbiscuit†are against, as in the act of doing so, based on their take on the principles and execution of gaming marketing teams. I'm certainly not against pre-ordering, but I do advocate that we all try not to rush and give in to that urge to buy a game as soon as possible, if there's a high chance we're being shafted. Not to get a pre-order just for the sake of it, if the contents just seem to be last minute and were advertised in such a way, as to reel you in. I certainly know that I'm feeling that right now with†Alien Isolation.†


I am taking a very long step back from that game, but open to the possibility that it may be a worthy homage to the film series I enjoy immensely, but they are wise in their plugging of the original Alien cast as DLC to reel us wary fans in. But I won't give in, until there is some proof in that pudding and I'd have more faith in this industry I spend a lot of money and time on, if they did not take us for fools and tried to add a sense of equilibrium to their marketing ethics.

I was gonna say something about this....but I won't. We can all have a little giggle in our own time.†

£5 quid now if you fancy a new collectors edition :p

1. I hate coins.

Especially if they're lying about, bare brash and bold. I†do not understand how anyone can live their lives, just having coins on their desk. They're an abomination and so are you for scattering them about. Put them in your damn purse!

2. If I'm hosting something, I barely sit down.

I'm constantly topping drinks, cleaning up, ensuring peoples bums are comfy, but then eventually I stop being a Cylon.

3. I have not bought 72% of the games I own on Steam.†

They're gifts I've received randomly from kind, batshit people. I also have bought myself more Steam games for other people, than I have myself. I hate buying myself Steam games it would seem.

4. I love underdogs.

Why do you think I root for Yamcha so much? Maybe I feel like an underdog too sometimes, who knows. But I usually prefer to go for the quiet, downtrodden upon over the boisterous, predictables.

5. I am still trying to find a good balance†

Between being the "give people a chance" Glowbear I've always been and the recent "Stop taking crap from people" coont, Glowbear. I find straying too far left or right of that swing makes me uneasy and hopefully I can nail the balance that I am happy with soon.

6. I have strange gaming patterns.

I can go hard at it for a while and then have lulls. I can play regular bouts or I can do this weird thing, where I play itty bitty sections, like 10 mins of games and leave it a while. In some cases that's how I'll start off and then eventually get stuck in proper and wrap it up in a day or two. That's what happened with Metro 2033 for example.

7. A KOTOR self surprise

I only realised recently, aside from loving Knights of the Old Republic based on a gaming perspective, I think it resonates with me and my own story in certain ways. Or how I feel. The linked scene especially.

8. I don't hate anybody.†

I'm surprised, you'd think at least one. But nope. I'm brokened.

9. I would be incredibly content if I was a published, 'good' author.†

That's the dream, that'd be nice. I wrote a book when I was 6 that was published, nothing major, but I was so proud. I thought it was the most wonderful thing ever. One of the stories included the tale of a cat that got lost, but found it's way home itself. The cat was very non-nonchalant in the story, kinda like "um humans, must you be so dramatic I was just visiting some hoes".

10. I keep flipping on devotion to gaming as a job

In whatever sense of the word. I suppose when I do take breaks, it's because I get deflated by numerous occurrences that happened within the gaming industry, just how clique'd the whole thing is and that companies, editorials and alike that I have given my time too (for free) have been very lacklustre is reciprocating support, even in the form of basic tweets. Kinda makes you not want to bother helping anyone, least in that area. But there's also a few people I stay in continuous, fruitful contact with and have been super cool and professional (primarily Germans), though oddly the UK lot are kinda meh.

The Thing is a third-person survival horror video game developed by Computer Artworks and it could have been something that when talked about now, is remembered fondly. It could have been a really enjoyable game, that did something different and paved the way for similar innovations and evolution's. I was excited about this game, I wanted it so bad and I really thought it would be something special.

The final result we received, was a lackluster third person action shooter that didn't really exude any horror elements and those that it loosely grappled to, it executed in a fairly dull and predictable manner. The main ingredient to this games uniqueness and potential success was the party paranoia and how your playable character could effect it for better or worse. Paying no attention to the escalating fears of your ice pit comrades and not making any conscious efforts to comfort them was suppose to result in them either turning against you and everyone else, as their delusional suspicions of who was infected hit a point of no return or for some reason they themselves turning into a Thing and attempting to kill you. Emphasis was placed on this aspect, be mindful of your party's stay of mind and prolong their sanity and usefulness.

That was what sold the game for me, nothing else. Maybe the barren white wilderness was another plus as I hadn't played any game in that setting, but the psychological aspect was a paramount piece of enticement for me. And it was all a lie.

When a game offers an element of choice and does not deliver, then we judge it on harsher terms. Most games will promise good game play, decent graphics, perhaps an innovation of play and if you're lucky a compelling story. These are basic set principles that we commonly associate with games and if they falter in any sector, they're critiqued thus.

But when a game promotes the gamers decisions as having an effect on the game play and in some cases the world in which it is set and completely lacks any noticeable difference, we're on another level of deceit and disappointment.

The Thing suffered from a time travelling Peter Molyneux effect.†

The Peter Molyneux effect (which I've only heard myself coin but it's not hard to guess) is when a game promises you a world wind, story enriched adventure where your choices have consequences. This means that certain actions you have 'chosen' should be reflected in immediate or future scenes. The Thing promoted itself as letting you have that perk power. But your actions have no consequence at all.

To ensure your party longevity you can help put them at ease by say, giving them some ammo or giving them a better weapon than what they have. So your random dude is freaking out, his insanity meter is about to pop or is even just a little bit above average on the 'heading to crazyville' range. Calm him down and gain his trust by giving him a gun. It's simple yes and if it had of been elaborated on a bit more, such as dialogue options or executing certain actions before them that depending on your choice of actions would ease them or escalate their fears, then the game would have been a lot more interesting and certainly more gripping. What we can do is repetitive and unvaried and it makes not one lick of difference.

No matter what you do every event is set in scripted stone. Near the end of the game I had a 2 party members with me. One was mentally sound and had not really given me any trust related grief, the other started freaking out. So I gave him a pretty decent gun and because I had plenty spare I gave a weapon and ammo to the other, consistently calm partner. Both turned on me either by legging it or having the utter cheek to turn in to a Thing. This happened less than a minute after my party transaction, we took a couple of steps in a snow tunnel and they both just hit a point in the game that commanded them to run out their script. So I reloaded and this time didn't give any extra ammunition to either, walked a few feet toward and you guessed it, both turncoats did it again! It was predestined, it was scripted, it was bullshit.

The survival horror genre is one that has a lot of copycat games floating about, after a while even those that do the job well can seem a bit boring in repeat succession, especially to those that are keenly interested in horror games. The Thing could have been something different, it didn't have to be immensely deep, it just had to add a few little tricks and actually let us play what we thought we were playing. If it had of executed the paranoia meter and what exactly contributed to it with some finesse and applied the same thought to how the player would try to handle the situation, the game would have stood out for the right reasons. The foundations were there, the ideas were on the table and yet somehow along the way, it's as if the developers simply stopped or forgot and decided to just shovel out something that was void of all the unique elements that would have made it worth playing from a horror perspective.

The Thing on it's own, in my opinion, isn't that awful a shooter in its own right, but there's a bunch of them out there and while I'm giving it that bit of praise that bit of praise isn't exactly teeming. Maybe you disagree or maybe you don't know it, but the Thing was a game that slipped under the radar pretty much and it could have been a must have for many people, if the simple promises that were made, were actually stuck to and I believe they could have.

Also Peter Molyneux ruins every precious thing he touches!!

Hello you lovely slippery balls of toenails. Scary Granules will be recording the 25th episode and we thought we'd make this a special one and we need you in order to successfully pull that off.

If you could find it in your heart, even if it's deep deep down, we want to know what your†top 2 favourite moments in gaming†)in-game or not) are. Just pick 2 and pop them in the comments here and explain what about those moments made them so special to you. We will then read them all out on the podcast, along with our own two.

It's that simple and it's that feel-goody.†


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