September 27, 2009

College life never leaves.

I suppose I should realize and accept the fact that it's hard to turn away from an undergrad lifestyle while still living in the U District. Regardless of only graduating in '09, I've found that I dislike noisy, crowded bars and much prefer the quieter ones where you can actually sit without knocking over someone else's drink. Most of my friends prefer this type of atmosphere nine times out of ten, so none of us were quite sure why we opted to go to Finn's on Thursday night, other than out of fours years of habit (well, for me, two).

Don't misunderstand, my friends and I still have a special place for Dante's as that's our college bar of choice. But more often than not we go to Rat and Raven, a newish English pub that took the place of the Irish Immigrant bastardization.

After about twenty minutes of screaming and being pushed along with the crowd (though I couldn't help but join in on Journey, it is Journey, after all), we opted to go to Rat and Raven to sit and tell some good stories.

Inevitably the undergrad life wasn't quite ready to let us free as at the end of the night there was a near bar brawl in our group, to put it simply. It's one of my favorite stories now, not only because of the sheer absurdity, but also because we escaped from Finn's for a more low key place and ended up with a guy lunging across a table at us-- something I've never witnessed during my undergrad bar hopping.

So does undergrad life ever end in the U District? I'm starting to think it doesn't, and maybe it's futile to resist. Or maybe I should just accept the fact that I'm 23 and not actually old enough to outgrow a young adult life style.

September 24, 2009

Oh yeah, that Recession thing...

Well, if it isn't Swine Flu keeping me from blogging, it's looking for work.

See, I used to have two jobs. Two shitty jobs, but two jobs nonetheless. Between the two of them I was able to work roughly full time. And then I got laid off at one of them without any notice at all. In fact, the only reason I found out is because I inquired about where the hell my schedule was.

So I've joined many Seattlelites, Americans, and people worldwide on a desperate search for employment. It's not that I haven't been looking these past few months, I have, but there's nothing like rapidly dropping to 10 hours a week to fuel the fire under my ass.

In fact, so well fired that I'm about two hours away from an interview that I was contacted about four hours post application sending frenzy.

In the meantime, I've picked up various shifts from other locations in the company chain. Unfortunately, my eagerness for monies has also influenced me to take graveyard shifts.

Why yes, I just returned from graveyard. Fancy that. I've got my energy drink, a substance completely foreign to me without a shot of Jager, ready to go.

This begs the question, how far are we willing to go in order to make ends meet? Should we ever have to go this far? I've been awake since roughly 2pm Wednesday because, you know what? Life doesn't stop for you just because you have to work graveyard. Your body also doesn't like to cooperate want and need of sleep, either. But most of all, how desperate is it to take any shift available and immediately layer them with interviews?

I'm not even sure if I should go to bed upon return from said interview for fear that it will take a severe toll on my sleep schedule, but my body is screaming at me to close my eyes, and my pillow is taunting me like something obnoxious and delightfully comfortable. Woe.

September 17, 2009

The Rabbit at PAX: That unexpected gift that keeps giving.

I had originally intended to do a PAX update every few days before moving on to other subjects I wanted to write about in my blog. Unfortunately I also fell to PAX Pox, though in much less severity as others who also attended (still, this did not stop Hall Health from being somewhat exasperated by the number of frantic phone calls they were receiving). Still, I took a four day weekend to suffer in congestion and wheezing, and only Tuesday did I dive back into working with the full vigor of a nerd needing a ramen fix (or in my case, a paycheck).

At this point it almost seems moot to discuss some of the games I had a chance of playing, especially since the two big ones, Muramasa and Beatles Rock Band, have already hit the shelves (in fact, I picked up my copy of Muramasa today). Humor me if I do, though, as I'm sure I'm not the only gamer that spends some time after the release date contemplating my next gaming expenditure.

In the meantime, I wholly recommend Muramasa. It is gorgeous and the first "real" video game I've been able to persuade my roommate to play AND have her enjoy (she's a big fan of Mario Kart, though there's a reason why the Bullet Bill item is a favorite of her's). I did put her on easy mode, but I think it is a testament to Muramasa's enjoyability and playability that she, despite her usual inability in gaming, thoroughly enjoyed herself. There's several ways to play Muramasa, and in her case she chose button mashing. It isn't the most efficient way to play, but I feel that having fun is more important than skill.

In truth, I love button mashing games, which is partially why I find Muramasa so appealing (normally I steer clear of action adventure). This is also why I loved Hulk Ultimate Destruction (it was one of the few games I routinely devastated my then boyfriend at the time since score was based more on destruction than objective).

Also, if you didn't know, Wii Ware has released a new version of Mr. Driller for 800 points. Despite being well above my eyes in games, I'm this damn close to buying it as Mr. Driller is so incredibly addicting. I'd like to see anyone not waste at least an hour of their life after giving that game a go.

September 11, 2009

The Rabbit at PAX: 2009 Panels

Admittedly I didn't attend very many panels, mostly because I was more interested in the exhibition hall and free play areas. There were a few panels I wanted to attend but didn't have the time to, and to be very honest, most of the panels covered subjects I simply wasn't interested in-- which is fine. I think nearly all the panels deserved to be at PAX, so it was simply a matter of personal appeal.

That said, here are the few panels I did attend (game previews are coming up next!)...


Most of you have probably heard of Mega64, a number of short videos a group of guys uploaded onto YouTube and have since then grown in popularity (Paper Boy is my favorite). What I enjoyed most about this panel was it seemed more like a giant nerd conversation involving microphones. I learned way too much about all the guys' penises and there were more tangents than actual answers to the Q&A, but I think that's partially what a panel like this should be.

I also learned that Rocko's Final Smash would be a piece of cheese because Shawn is lactose intolerant. It's things like that I remember best from the panel. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, so I'll let you decide.


Penny Arcade Makes a Strip
This was a lot of fun, Scott stood in for Tycho/Jerry until he could make it back from the hospital. Meanwhile, fun technical problems kept Gabe/Mike from drawing too much, so most of the panel was Q&A for a good while. Right about when Gabe finally got things rolling, Tycho showed up and stole of all his thunder.

It was especially great for me to finally see and hear the two in person, their banter is great, even better when paired with thousands of nerds. The penis talked continued, and also dribbled into cumsquates. I've never listened to talk of teabagging for so damn long.

As for the comic itself, at one point Gabe drew Tycho as a three eyed alien (you can see the beginnings of it in my photo post) and a hot dog fairy. I believe there's some kind of inside joke that has to do with said fairy that I've never heard of, but regardless it was fun to watch Gabe draw a fabulous bunned sausage.

Star Wars Old Republic MMO
I am so damn tired of the trailer for this game, I'm not even kidding. Even so, the panel itself was okay and interesting enough. I'm probably going to play it when it comes out, and I'm not an paying MMO player (but it looks so close to KOTOR that I don't think I'll be able to resist!). I think what really shined was the two spokes persons, they were charismatic and funny. Perhaps their presentation was a tad scripted, but it was clear they knew who their crowd was.

And by this I mean that they nerded out the entire time. Once of them even professed his love for pixel women in so many words. I appreciate corporations sending in the right people for the right places in order to promote their material.

So what was the extra special stuff that came with the panel? Knowing that Courscant is a playable area.

Oh, and we were all given free downloads of KOTOR from Steam.

Sex in Video Games
I think my post bellow says everything I've ever wanted to say about this panel ever again.


Localization and Translation
This was a great panel headed by two guys who localized several FF titles, most notably FFXII as most of their great examples were taken from that game. It was very informative on how the localization process is and what exactly they do. I believe gamers often take for granted that localization is more than just translating, and that we don't appreciate why liberties are made with the original text.

Granted, some liberties are ridiculous, and the panelists were very upfront about that. But the work they did in XII is phenomenal. I'm most impressed with the attention to detail and work they put into choosing certain voice types (British for the Empire, American for Dalmasca, Fran with a Scandinavian accent to make her seem other worldly). What impressed me the most is that they actually rewrote script into iambic pentameter. FUCKING IAMBIC PENTAMETER. That's dedication to quality. For anyone who has ever had to work with iambic pentameter, you know exactly what I mean.

Then panelists were also humorous, but I also appreciate how professional they seemed. I liked that they were friendly but also gave the feeling of respect towards those who took the time to sit at their panel. It wasn't fancy, but it was clear, to the point, and provided information in a compelling way. I sincerely hope they return next year.

Wil Wheaton Awesome Hour
I was one of the very lucky hundred to see Wil Wheaton. His lineup started in the queue room hours before his panel was to begin, and I can see why. He's hilarious and fully deserving of the main hall or a bigger room (PAX, are you listening?). All of us were crammed into Serpent Theater (and that is not a small room, by the way. I'm going to say max capacity 200) to cheer and snort at his life adventures (and some people gave him bananas? Whut?). Very personable and gracious, I'd gladly wait over an hour just to see his panel again.

September 9, 2009

The Rabbit at PAX: Sex in Video Games (or "Japan Rocks, America Sucks")

What to say about this panel that hasn't already been said? Enough people have already complained about it that Pink Godzilla will not be allowed back as panelists for the discussion, and not to be Why So Serious here, but I think it's important as, not only a gamer, but also as a woman to discuss why this panel just sucked. Hard. To the point that I don't intend to shop at Pink Godzilla ever again.

So let's just start from the beginning.

If you've seen my video post, the American Hard Gay clip was actually from this panel. In all fairness, I think they had the right idea at the beginning, it was fun, though perhaps taken a bit too far. Two people demonstrated well known "sexual" scenes in video game history and American Hard Gay ran around with a microphone in the audience so they could guess and win prizes. This was all fine and dandy except that it dragged on too long, mostly because American HG felt it necessary to actually weave into the aisles in order to pelvic thrust against audience members.

Okay, fine, that's exactly what Hard Gay does. But at a certain point it ceases to be funny and just becomes vulgar and unnecessary. We we're in line for at least a half an hour, some people up to an hour, to discuss sex in video games, not watch a guy in cheap leather rub up against people. The panelists did warn that the panel was going to be adult in nature and could be offensive, but I highly doubt any of us ever thought there would be physical sexual affronts or extremely explicit videos.

Which brings me to the next part, the actual panel itself. I think this part also started out well enough. A brief history on sex in Western video games was presented. It was informative and funny, and I could see it easily tying in to the main topic at hand. It wasn't until a presentation on sex in Japan was given that the panel took a severe turn for the worst.

Firstly, there was an at least fifteen minute BBC video discussing sex in Japanese culture. That's great, but a brief overview with specific video game examples that could be compared and contrasted to the previous discussion would have been preferable. Especially since the video displayed a Japanese man receiving a handjob. Naked women in bondage. Neither of these instances were warned or do I find appropriate to be shown in the context of a discussion about sex and VIDEO GAMES.

After the video, Pink Godzilla went on to claim that Japanese society and their attitude towards sex is vastly superior to America because we allow censorship in mass media.


Right, because censorship only happens in America. It's not like the cartoon Ouran High School Host Club that showed only slightly mature themes wasn't aired in after hours. Or the several cartoons (Kodomo no Jikan, for example) that need mosaics or various other edits in order to be shown during the day. Heaven forbid that here in America we don't allow dicks and boobies to be thrown up on billboards-- oh wait, Japan doesn't allow that, either.

I understand we're a more prudish country, however, I believe we're much more liberal in our sexuality being public than the Japanese are in the sense that they acknowledge it and yet don't at the same time. What I mean by this is that genres like Moe are obviously produced in order to make profit from the consumer, the companies recognize consumer fetishes and capitalize on them. HOWEVER, it's not necessarily acceptable for a person to openly talk about such things. I agree that sex is very much private in Japan, but I don't agree that it's necessarily healthy. I think one of the reasons why America is so militant on censorship is partially because discussing such things have become part of the norm.

Actually, I think Pink Godzilla is grossly ill informed on Japanese culture, or at least is unable to accurately provide information to others concerning the culture. I don't care that one of them studied Asian culture and lived in Japan for some time, his one experience =/= the reality of Japan. Never mind that no one wanted to give a very clear answer on their credentials concerning the subject, which has led many to believe they simply have none. I also would have been more impressed if the guy had a Masters because, honestly, having a Bachelors doesn't give authority to teach the subject and it's laughable to try and use it that way.

Continuing with their line of Japan Is Awesome~!, they tried to justify rape simulators as saying if they didn't exist, more women would be raped, and that the existence of such games have actually helped decrease the number of sexual assaults in Japan.

I'll let you mull that over for a bit.

Done? Good.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. Where the hell are they pulling these statistics? Japanese assault rates going down? Okay. Increase of rape simulators? Okay. THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY'RE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. Want to know why? Because Japan has been introducing new laws and ways to keep women safer because there was an increasing problem with assaults. One of these ways is the all-women train cars. I'm going to bet that train incidents have decreased not because of rape emulators, but because women have the option of riding in a gendered car. But that's logic talking, and we all know how logic works.

And it's not as if Japan hasn't correlated sexual perversion and violence with media. That was how the term "otaku" was coined. It also became a hot topic a few years ago with the Sasebo Slashing. In our culture we often condemn violent and sexual media when we learn that the assailant enjoy such things (see school shootings and the boy who committed suicide and obsessively listened to Blink 182's Adam's Song). However, our backlashes in comparison are not as intense. On the flip side, Japan actually made a minor celebrity out of a murderer who ate his victim by allowing the publication of his memoirs and a publicity circuit to several talk shows.

If that wasn't enough, Pink Godzilla was asked why they didn't have or didn't invite a woman onto their panel. The truth of the matter is, more often than not, women are the subject of sexualization in video games rather than men. In a discussion concerning sex in video games, it would have been well advised, if not necessary, to provide a woman gamer's view on the objectification and portrayal of our gender. And I'm not saying for her to rag on the industry, but open the discussion on what should and shouldn't be acceptable and how this could or will change. Make connections on how male objectification (not necessarily sexual, but definitely in image portrayal) can be just as bad and how it's reaching the same level as how females are portrayed.

Instead Pink Godzilla stated that although women make up 30% of Western gamers, a woman panelist was unnecessary because the industry is male dominated.

I don't even know where to begin with that, so I'll just let it speak for itself.

To top off the whole trainwreck, it was a poorly constructed train that they wrecked. Technical problems can be expected because technology likes to fuck with people, but Pink Godzilla was completely unprepared and it showed. Every little seam. From how to use their equipment to the quality of the information and discussion itself. Even their presentation screamed high school power point project.

Several people asked what was the point of the entire panel. Was it a power trip? Was it another way to stick it to the man of American culture? Was it to objectify Japan like we were at an anime convention? Was it to pull a fast one on PAX? Or was it to teach us the important lesson of what happens when you wait in line for an hour in order to discuss sex?

Either way, the panel did succeed in one thing. Discussion. We're all discussing it now, and technically that was the goal of the panel (I think, anyway). It also proved that PAX is listening and I look forward to a new group of panelists taking over the discussion next year because the topic has so much potential.

September 7, 2009

The Rabbit at PAX: Picture Blog

Here's a few pictures I took over the three days of Penny Arcade Expo madness when I remembered I had a camera. I need a little bit more time to write about the panels I went to, the games and activities I played, and a little n00b guide for first timers next year, so hopefully these pictures along with the videos will be sufficient for now.

Friday morning lineup that wrapped all around the central park/garden area of the convention center.

I may have squeed a bit when I saw this giant wall of Edgykins next to a few mounted DSes featuring his game. Am beyond excited for this game, more on that later.

Mega64 guys at their panel. I wanted to note that this was the start of the constant cock chattering I heard all weekend. Knowing that Shawn's penis is shaped like a jet will always have a special place in my heart.

The nerditude even permeated the bathrooms. The game mentioned is No More Heroes 2.

CONSOLE FREEPLAY YAAAAAY. It was fairly empty on Friday.

One of the tabletop gaming rooms. There were several of these on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

Inconspicuous tapeage.

People actually using Pictochat-- when it wasn't crashing every ten seconds, anyway.

DS Gamers World Record, hold 'em high!

My and my friend's contribution. Can you figure out what games we're playing?

An example of the beach ball mayhem constantly happening in the queue room. On Sunday in the Omegathon Final line, this also included a giant game of Frisbee involving shirts. The queue ceiling won.


Bucking hell horse.

Jerry/Tycho's typed out text for Monday's comic.

In progress!

Mike/Gabe making fun of Jerry/Tycho when he finally made it to the panel.

The beginning of the Hot Dog Fairy.

Om nom nom color.

Old Republic panel on Saturday!

The queue room on Sunday's morning lineup. It was fairly close to 10am when I snapped this.

Entrance to the main exhibition hall.

Spider-man dancing. Unfortunately he did not win.

The chalk drawing that took all weekend to complete. It was found outside of the queue and main halls.

Next year I will need to take more pictures, or hire someone to take them for me.

September 6, 2009

The Rabbit at PAX: Video Blog

I have so much to blog about in regards to PAX, but in the mean time, here's a few videos I was able to film while at the convention.

DS World Record

How many DS gamers does it take to break a World Record? Thousands. We packed the queue room on Friday night and watched Pictochat crash on itself over and over and over...

Saturday Morning Lineup

Bouncing beach balls around happened all the time in the queue room, though the Saturday morning entrance lineup had the most I had seen.

Pirate Swag

This is how real pirates pass out shirts in the exhibition hall.

American Hard Gay

I'd like to say the Sex and Video game panel will be best known for having a Hard Gay, but it will probably be best known for being the worst panel at PAX 2009. More on that later.

Spider-man Dancing

Unfortunately the audio has been muted by YouTube due to copyright issues, so I've embedded the file I uploaded on Facebook. Enjoy!

September 4, 2009

The Rabbit at PAX: Part 1

For those of you who live near a GameWorks, you probably know that most are $10 for unlimited play on Thursday nights. Such is the case here in Seattle. Understandably this makes Thursday nights incredibly busy. My friends and I like to go down there anyway on occasion, and decided to go tonight. The day before PAX.

By the way, GameWorks is across from the Convention Center. Where PAX is being held.

Que large lines of mostly young guys and what I like to think of as my first experience at PAX because the guys were either wearing their PAX passes (WHY?) or smelly. And unfortunately many of them did not understand how GameWorks functions.

But that's okay because, you know what? I think GameWorks Thursday should be an important part of PAX for people staying Downtown. It's a great way to get a weekend devoted to gaming started, and it's only $12.50 if you don't already own a GameWorks card ($10 if you do).

Pro Tips for GameWorks:

-Make sure you're swiping your GAMEWORKS card into the machines and not your HOTEL ROOM KEY.
-If people are standing behind you watching you that you don't know, they're probably waiting to pay the machine you're on next. Which doesn't mean you should be a douche and swipe your card to play again.
-Don't bring your goddamn girlfriend who doesn't play, mmkay? Not only does she take up space and bitches obnoxiously about being there, but she discredits the girls who are actually there to play.
-Remember that there are girls who want to play, so don't try to kick us off of our machines.
-A back corner of the second floor hosts old school arcade games and usually isn't very busy. I was able to play Mr. Driller several times.
-It's usually best to ignore all the fancy-schmancy games out on the floor-- except for the SEGA Hummer game, OMG. It's like Hulk Ultimate Destruction in racing form.
-DDR USA is the worst DDR machine there, don't use it.

I'm listening to advice from my con going buddies about what to bring (DS is charging as I type) and we're heading down right around 10am. The only concern I have is that I sprained my ankle yesterday moving into my new apartment. Perhaps the world is trying to tell me something?