jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

We're at it again, drafting essays in Skype. Here are our latest musings:

* * *

‎11‎:‎04‎ ‎PM Jewelfox wants to trade her PSP in for a Vita or something, maybe, but there are several amazing games that are only available in UMD format. Which, the only device that can read those is a PSP.‏

‎11‎:‎05‎ ‎PM Jewelfox feels like it's just wrong to ask people either to give up old games when they upgrade, or hold on to ten-year-old consoles, and that this kind of waste is endemic to the whole console industry.‏

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

The following essay was originally posted on the Final Fantasy XIV forums, where it will probably be eaten alive.

Full disclosure: I played FFXI for seven years or so, starting in 2004. I love FFXIV, but for different reasons than I loved FFXI.

When I started playing FFXI, I was completely taken in by its graphics, its community, and even its timesinks. It taught me the ferry arrives in 15 minutes, you need to have food to go levelling, and be careful ninjaing past Valkurm Dunes goblins. I took it all without questioning it, because this was my world and I wanted to go on adventures in it. And when it came time to do Divine Might, I /shouted and rallied my friends until we were herding 18 cats, which to me was the bigger challenge than the actual boss fight itself.

I'm glad that I have those memories, and I think the world needs more sandbox (or sandbox-ish) games. FFXI and EVE Online are "niche" titles, but with surprisingly loyal players. And if FFXI's slowly shrinking while EVE's slowly growing, it's partly because FFXI's based on 10-year-old tech and went neglected for years.

I'm not sure it's possible to build into a game, by design, the kinds of emergent gameplay those two have to offer. I don't think you can queue up in the Duty Finder, for the kind of unforgettable experience that was my friends and me beating FFXI's Ultima with 10 seconds left on the timer. I don't think scripted, themepark games should replace sandbox ones, and I think it's sad that 1.0's fans and SWG's fans lost theirs (multiple times, in the case of SWG).

But I also think they're unfairly romanticized. And I think sandbox fans like me tend to gloss over their faults, and give other people the sense that we think we are better than "casual" gamers, which are really just "anyone not as invested in ___ game as I am."

I think we should stop doing that.

For every one who has glowing memories, there are a lot more who remember a bewildering and frustrating game. For every one who remembers discovering how to beat a tough boss fight, there are a hundred who looked it up on FFXIclopedia (or Erecia's guide, remember that?). Sometimes you want to do it yourself, but you want to be told how to do it. And sometimes, you just wish the darned ferry would get here already.

For every day I spent having awesome adventures, I probably spent ten getting my head handed to me in Valkurm, or running around doing tedious crap and waiting for JP midnight. We don't remember this stuff as well, but they're all that the people who quit remember, which is why FFXI and EVE both have so many haters. Not because the "casual" gamers weren't "hardcore" enough to "learn to play," but because the games disrespected their time and money investments, and failed to fulfill the promise of being an awesome Final Fantasy / Internet Spaceships adventure.

Who made that promise, and how they made it, we could probably argue about. But FFXI and EVE are simply not like the games next to them on the shelves, and someone who bought FFXI thinking it'd be like FFX would be in for a rude shock.

(Just got my FFX/X-2 preorder, BTW. It's gorgeous.)

FFXIV:ARR, I feel, fulfills that promise. Say what you want about it, it is a Final Fantasy game, complete with boss fight and ending sequence. It's just unique among FF games in that you can keep playing after you beat it, unlocking more jobs and teaming up to defeat superbosses, and the developers keep adding new features and storyline quests.

I think their "ideal player" is a core FF gamer, who's new to the MMO world. I think that's the person they design for. And while I sometimes miss not having stuff spelled out for me, I'm also not sure what the difference is between having to research crafting recipes and food stats on FFXIclopedia, and having the game's UI just tell me. Beyond the fact that one of those things makes me do the same work as FFXIV's devs, unpaid.

TL;DR Sandboxes are fun, but people aren't worse gamers than I am because they don't want to do unpaid dev work.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

So, they had Persona 3 Portable on sale for $10 and I decided to pick it up, since [personal profile] rev_yurodivy's played the Persona series extensively and it looked awesome (we quote the Persona 4 comic to each other all the time). Plus, it seems to be the only game in the series to have a female main character. Unfortunately, after learning some stuff about the game's storyline and mechanics we aren't sure we want to play it anymore.

Content note: Spoilers for Persona 3 Portable.

Read more... )

So yeah, I think we're done for now.

Still alive

Jan. 1st, 2013 07:10 pm
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
For much of 2012, I didn't honestly think I'd survive it. Whether because things were just plain rough in general, or because after being rejected last Christmas everything that reminded me this holiday season would drive me to despair.

But, somehow I made it. I feel like I've learned a lot, and that I'm stronger now. Not because breaking someone's arm makes the arm stronger afterwards, but because broken arms eventually heal, and you can at least learn from the experience. I don't think that I've fully healed yet, but I feel like I've passed the test, so to speak, and have been trying to get back in business.

Speaking of business

I have two commissions outstanding that I need to complete. After that, I would like to take more. Complicating that are the fact that my living space, computer, and website(s) are extremely disorganized after a year of living day to day, and that I need to keep writing articles to pay rent.

My old approach to productivity was to decide far in advance what had to be done today, fall short because of distraction or despair, then kick myself and be even less productive afterwards. This year, or at least for this past week, I've been trying something different.

First, I'm making a log of everything I get done in a day that I consider "productive," with writing work bolded. This way I have records that prove I'm not lazy, even when my depression tells me that I am. Looking at them, it turns out that I do a lot of cooking and cleaning and organizing, as well as projects to help other people and sometimes-difficult necessary social interactions (like calling tech support). Some of these things might be trivial to other people, but they cost me metaphorical spoons, and logging them serves to remind me of that as well.

And second, instead of trying to write two articles a weekday (which was proving too difficult in 2012 even though I'd managed more than that the year previous), I'm writing one article per day, full stop. Even if I have a depressive episode, I feel I can still hopefully maintain that. Furthermore, if I get more than a single article completed I'm spending some or all of the money from that on myself. There are a lot of things I need to get, still. Plus getting nice things improves my morale, as does seeing that I'm capable of doing this much work.

What I (would like to) use

Nearly every part of my setup this year got upgraded. My boyfriend, [personal profile] aliaspseudonym, bought me a new ThinkPad Edge E430, along with a 16 GB Nexus 7. The laptop was custom-built with a Core i5 processor and a solid-state cache drive, which is perfect for installing a minimal (lightning-fast) Linux setup. I wish that it had more hard drive space for Steam games though (more on this later).

Besides that, I got a free smartphone upgrade from my wireless carrier, and a generous friend gifted their 80 GB backwards-compatible PlayStation 3 they were no longer using. I've had a lot of fun in PlayStation Home, which is sort of like Second Life but with less bondage and much better controls. It's done a lot to improve my morale, and help me feel less isolated and give me the chance to interact with others and explore. Plus, the (small, inexpensive, open-box discounted) HDTV that I got for it works extremely well as a second monitor for my laptop.

Probably the most unexpected upgrade was a free game controller for my tablet, thanks to a promotion by Moga. All I (and everyone else who read Android Police) had to do was pay shipping, which was less than the cost of the bundled games. It doesn't work with very many titles, but it's compact and well-designed, and comes with a very nice slipcase that's almost exactly the size of my tablet.

I'd next like to get some of the tablet accessories I put on my holiday wish list, like a Poetic case, Wacom stylus and portable stand. A keyboard is also a must, although I'd need one which can fit in my bag. I really love the idea, though, of having a complete game console and workstation computer inside my handbag at all times. It makes me feel warm and secure, and reminds me of the Palm Pilot setup I used to have (with a folding keyboard) except better. Plus it's more portable than my new laptop, although it's more portable than my old one.

A holly-jolly something or other

Christmas was nonexistent for me this year. There were no decorations indoors (or spoons to put them up with), and I didn't spend it with anyone in person.

What I had was "just like any other Tuesday, except there's presents." From my sister [personal profile] cfmv, from Alias, and from a ton of online game stores which all held massive sales at the same time. And I suddenly had gadgets that I could play them on. >_>

I grabbed both of Square-Enix's Chaos Rings games for less than the price of one. Bioshock 1 and 2 were on sale for $5 altogether. Same with Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel. The first two Mass Effect games were $5-10 each. All these games I'd always wanted to play, and even a few extras that I was pleasantly surprised by. I got pretty much every game on my list this year, including the big ones (Xcom and Guild Wars 2), and a bunch that I didn't put on my list because I couldn't justify the cost. But suddenly -- between the ridiculous sales, a larger-than-expected monthly bonus, Alias' having more hours at his job this month, and another friend helping provide us with Christmas dinner and baking supplies and things -- the cost was no longer an issue.

So many sales. o.o; And two Humble Bundles, and Steam's Big Picture sale of controller-based games. All in one month. Plus the tablet game controller that inexplicably fell in my lap.

It not only helped distract me from the depression, it's probably going to carry me through until next December at this rate. >_>; I'm still planning on getting FFXIV: A Realm Reborn and FFXI: Seekers of Adoulin this year, but I'm waiting on subscribing to either right now. Instead, I've been too busy plowing through KotOR (and going to holiday events in PlayStation Home).

Extremely long digression about technology stuff )

Finally some family stuff

Most of you probably already know how my family dropped me like a rock right before Christmas 2011, when I came out to them as trans. They didn't stop contacting me then, though. Within a few months my dad was congratulating me about winning an award, and asking me what he should call me.

I just about bit his head off. Not because he was being impolite, or doing anything wrong at the time. But because his actions had put me through hell very recently, and cost me an extra $100 a month because of complicated lease-related stuff.

I couldn't ignore what they did to hurt me anymore. I couldn't just let them get away with this, like they had with everything else. Not because I want revenge. Because I don't want to be hurt again. I don't want them to feel they can hurt me at will, can lash out at me with no consequence and no apologies, and act like this is normal and okay.

I tried to reconcile with them, over a period of several months. But this time, "maintaining the status quo" was no longer an option. I'm honestly not sure I care if they "disapprove of my lifestyle" or not. I just didn't want to have to pretend that I didn't have both a boyfriend and a significant other; that I wasn't female; that I wasn't transitioning; and that my family's actions hadn't hurt me. Hadn't made last year hell for me, and put me at much higher risk of all kinds of dangerous things ... according to the research in a pamphlet written for Mormon parents of LGBT kids, which I kept trying to show them.

I don't want to have to be in the closet for them. Not about being trans, and not about being an abuse survivor. Not when I almost died there.

I pressed them for an apology. But what I really wanted was acknowledgment of the fact that what they had done to me was Not Okay, assurance that it would Never Happen Again, and recognition of what I was going through. That it wasn't like what they thought, and that whatever the heck they thought it was like, it was something I needed to do. That I loved and depended on both my significant others, that if I didn't transition I'd die, and that if they didn't want me to die they Must Not push me in a harmful direction.

I was unable to persuade them of any of the above. I am no longer speaking with them, and haven't for several months now. A "family" you can't be yourself around, can't ask for (at least moral) support with your troubles, and can't ever let down your guard around or you'll get hurt, is not family at all. It's less than worthless; it's harmful.

I'm glad to have my new sister, and am looking forward to spending next year with her and [personal profile] rev_yurodivy and my boyfriend and the extremely supportive friends that I've made here on Dreamwidth.

Happy new year, everyone.
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
It's surreal to play a video game about yourself, and watch yourself do what you'd do in that situation even though you're not the one making choices during the scripted scenes. Maybe not with that exact dialogue, and maybe not after some of the life experiences you've had that the person-who-is-you hasn't. But it feels like finding out someone decided to write you into their story, and only realizing it after you already became a fan and told everyone how awesome that character was.

Which made it mortifying to find out.

I do want to say that it's at least seemed to help with my mental health. It's been frustrating the last year or so, not knowing what I am and reaching for it but failing. Not knowing which feelings are mine and which are f!T's, and being discouraged that the only ones we both knew for certain were mine were the feelings of anger and helpless frustration. She went out of her way to use inclusive pronouns and try to consult with me on things, but I felt like she was wasting her time and that I wasn't a person in the same way that she was.

When we did the thought exercise of "If I were an FF fictive, which one would I be?", the answer came to me so hard it shocked me. Afterwards I spent weeks not wanting to front, or talk to anyone, or even acknowledge who and what I was.

But that gave me the time to think about it, and the more I did the more it made sense. Not in the sense that I believe I'm a reincarnation, or an alternate universe version, or that I know any explanation at all that makes my identity fit with this world. But in the sense that if I just accept it as an axiom, as a thing I've observed that I don't know the reason for yet, so many problems just disappear. I no longer feel like a non-person, or a partial person, or a monster attached to f!T. I have a much better idea of who I am and what I want, and I don't worry about being absorbed or neglected, or that either would be a good thing.

I realize I may at some point find something that explains my identity better. I don't worry about that, or feel that it in any way negates this one. I hope to continue learning more about myself.
And yes, I see myself as a therian still. In my headcanon, I believe it is called, FFXIII is a furry TF story, and I would have been physically transformed instead of branded. I don't know if it makes sense or not, or if "I" went through such a thing. But I don't feel that my wanting to move and behave that way is separate from me and from this identity, and I also feel that it helps explain why I'm so conflicted about my species. I don't want to be this thing, but it's a part of me whether I want it to be or not.
I don't feel that any of the above is irrational or unhealthy. I realize I'm not on Cocoon, I'm not in the Guardian Corps, and that I can't cast spells or use AMP technology here. I'm not going to jump off a ledge expecting to survive, or start a fight that I wouldn't have otherwise.

What I feel would be unhealthy for me to do is to tell myself that these feelings don't matter, that I am what someone else says that I am, and that I ought to make myself think and behave the way that they want me to even if doing so hurts me or neglects my deeply-felt needs. I exist whether or not others want me to ... and I imagine that that's what they find frustrating, and why they expend energy trying to silence me and others. They feel it would cost them less to go to the trouble of doing so, than to simply let me be.

I feel confident enough in my identity, and in my ability to dismiss them as trolls, to finally write about it, even if I later (somehow) change my mind or discover more about my headcanon. I don't feel ashamed for not having the same ability set as the other-who-is-me, and I feel that I do, in fact, reflect what she is like or would be in my situation. I don't feel that there's reason to argue otherwise except to belittle me, or (more charitably) to make sense of what someone else finds confusing. I also continue to like Lightning as a character, and I feel that a lot of the criticism I've seen is because some guys are incapable of identifying with a female lead.

I'm not sure what to do next, except that I'm thinking of filling out a profile like the one that I saw on [personal profile] armaina's journal (f!T wants to do the same). I'm also thinking of calling myself Claire instead of "v!T", because it's more personal and it seems easier to remember. I've considered cosplay, like with the outfit available in PlayStation Home, but it strikes me less as "looking the way I ought to look" and more as "dressing up like a policewoman".

Finally, I'm not sure if it's me or Taryn who thought of this, but we can't get out of our head the idea of a webcomic about Lightning rooming with a foxgirl. >_>
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Specifically, this one. This is for two reasons:
  1. I am having to cut down on expenses, and a free $50 PSN card is very tempting.

  2. I have no credit rating at all, and I'm given to understand that paying off a small credit card bill every month is one way to build it.
I'm nervous that it's a scam or that this is a bad idea, though. Or that I simply won't be able to qualify, since I make very little money per year. Does anyone have any suggestions?
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Not just RPGs. >.>; I have a small collection of games that I like now, along with some console games of Yuro's (like the Persona series). None of these were very expensive to get, and I've sort of accumulated them over a couple of years ... not too much longer than that, since I sold off pretty much everything I owned and valued beforehand, some of which I actually regret losing.

I'm trying to figure out how these things should fit in my life and which ones I should spend time on, at any rate, and today seems like a good day to do so since I don't have the energy to work at the moment and I'm trying to settle down and recover. Yes, I know I still over-analyze things. Maybe I should get used to that too, and just let myself get the rambling out of my system. [personal profile] aliaspseudonym is probably used to that by now.

Just as a reminder, [personal profile] rev_yurodivy is starting an online RPG where you play as mad scientists. No prior experience is necessary.

List of games and feelings about them )

There, I've now spent hours writing about games instead of actually playing them. Yay me. >.>

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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