Category Archives: Journal

My Year of Gaming – 2011

Well, dear readers. Here we are. The end of one year, the birth of a new year; the last year, if some are to be believed. Will we all die horribly in a planetary, perhaps, galactic upheaval? Time will tell, dear readers — time will tell.

It has been quite a year though, hasn’t it? A year of revolutions, fallen dictators, I think there were some natural disasters in there. And while all of that happened, we played video games. Join me in a contemplative moment of righteous self-loathing, won’t you?

Ah, there we go. Clean conscience.

It was a banner year for video games, as well. Too good a year, if you ask me. So many titles I wasn’t able to get to, but so, so, so many I did. Countless hours, in fact. Hmm… shall we quietly hate ourselves again? Yes, I believe we shall.

Ah. Like a cold shower on a crisp winter’s morning.

Yes, it was a fine year that is now at an end all too suddenly. How could we possibly sum up? Why, the only way TV year-end summaries have always taught me, of course — awful rhyming! Continue reading

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Filed under Editorial, Journal, Retrospective

Six Reasons Why Having an Anxiety Disorder is Bullshit

UPDATE 2/7/2014: Hey, as you read this, make a note of the date this was posted. This is a pretty old piece now and while it perfectly captures the state I was in at the time, a lot can change in three years. Just keep that in mind.

UPDATE 5/30/2013: Just an FYI, I don’t check this site a whole lot anymore but I’ve re-posted this piece at my new blog located here:

Like just about any nerd out there, I grew up with the constant knowledge that I was “different.” I’ve always been shy and quiet; I’ve also gone to great lengths to avoid uncomfortable situations and once or twice a year I have a full-on anxiety attack in the form of a huge tantrum.

Only in the last few years have I really found something to blame for all the things that made me feel like such a weirdo: high anxiety. It’s a small problem when compared to something like, say, addiction or genocide (you know, the standard benchmarks for sizes of problems), but having a constant sense of dread running through your brain is, to say the least, stressful. When that dread becomes too overwhelming, I freak out. These moments aren’t always, necessarily, full-blown panic attacks, but they are uncontrollable fits of nervousness and depression that shut me down for a day or two as my brain frantically sorts through all of its bullshit and buries me underneath.

High anxiety is such complete bullshit. It’s real and it isn’t at the same time. It’s in your head, but it also takes an actual, physical toll. It’s a construction of the mind, but it feels as tangible as a brick wall, where the bricks are made of mithril and the wall is covered in adamantium spikes and manned by rabid velociraptors armed with rapid-fire grenade launchers.

So what, exactly, makes high anxiety such bullshit? Well, for starters…. Continue reading


Filed under Journal, List

Currently Watching: Eden of the East

Takizawa (protagonist)

SPOILER ALERT!: They’re vague, but they’re there. You have been warned.

I don’t ‘get’ Japan. Don’t take that the wrong way; the same as any ludophile, I owe a great deal to Japan. Without Japan — without Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Final Fantasy, Atlus RPGs, the films of Hayao Miyazaki, Dragon Ball, Gundam, even Sailor Moon (yeah, I’ll admit . . . I watched it) — I wouldn’t be the person I am today. But my adoration of all-things-Japan wore off a long time ago, when I realized that much of the culture (especially the pop culture)  is, simply, beyond my capability to understand. Eden of the East is different.

Continue reading


Filed under Anime, Journal, TV

New Basic Braining a Work in Progress: Theme?

As you can see, the ol’ portfolio is getting a revamp. At least, it’s getting as much of a revamp as it can, still tied to a free WordPress domain and theme. Wait… theme? Oh, how horribly confusing! No, this post is not about the template I’m using for the blog.

Previously, Basic Braining had been no more than a portfolio, a place to post all the stuff I write that appears elsewhere, but in one, convenient location. Well, I’m doing away with that, and making this into a proper blog. But what about? Ah, that’s the question. And that’s the kind of theme I’m talking about.

My first instinct is to make this a blog about game worlds, given my interest in worldbuilding. This prospect poses  a few difficulties. For one, my PC is a tired, old girl. She’s not running the Crysis 2’s or the Witcher 2’s or the Deus Ex 3’s. I do most of my gaming on console and I lack the proper means to capture the kinds of images that would be relevant to a blog about worldbuilding. Doesn’t rule out this idea, but it’s enough to give me pause. After all, wouldn’t a blog about worldbuilding be so much more interesting if it had images of the game worlds it’s exploring? Then again, this difficulty hasn’t stopped me before.

I thought about exploring game worlds in another way, continuing the game-crossing reports of Higgins Odious-Bonaparte, my thesaurus-dependent, in-game journalist alter-ego. But then I would need to change the name. Can I even do that? Hmm… I should probably know that. Not a good sign.

In college I once did a project to make a ‘zine. I came up with a concept for what would be a ‘zine presented as a series of journals by an archaeologist exploring game worlds. The first one was about the Mushroom Kingdom, featuring detailed notes and sketches of the various flora and fauna (I suppose that doesn’t make him much of an archaeologist, but whatever).

I could go all game diaries all the time. But I’d probably need to come up with a more interesting concept than simply regaling you with my in-game adventures. Even I know that’s only interesting to a certain point, paling in comparison to something as brilliant as Robin Burkenshaw’s Alice and Kev.

I just don’t know. Therefore, I’m going to give all of the above a shot (plus whatever else comes to me) and see what sticks. So bear with me as I try to figure out what, exactly, I want this… thing… to be. And if you have an opinion, please share! I’m not truly capable of thinking for myself. 🙂

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Filed under Intro, Journal, Uncategorized

Game Diary: Arx Fatalis 03 — Answering the Call

(Originally posted at Digital Hippos)

Tragedy. Ascending back up the goblin gulag hits me with one of the stranger bugs I’ve ever seen: the opening of the game repeats itself. I’m struck with the blue light, dragged away by the goblin and wake up in a jail cell. Only, something’s different…. Continue reading

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Game Diary: Arx Fatalis 02 — The Envy of Kings

(Originally posted at Digital Hippos)

Emerging in the sub-(sub-sub-sub-sub-)-terranean tunnels beneath the goblin gulag, I find something I’ve been waiting for for far too long: pants! They’re being worn by a skeleton — not an undead monster skeleton, just a regular pile of bones — but they’re perfectly good pants and there’s no reason to let them go to waste, especially when this corpse doesn’t even have any legs. Continue reading

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Game Diary: Arx Fatalis 01 — No-Name

(Originally posted at Digital Hippos)

After a brief scene where I’m struck with blue light and dragged off by a goblin, I wake up to a familiar sight: a jail cell. But that debilitating glow had another effect: I can’t remember anything! Or was it the knock on the head from the goblin? Either way, it landed me right here, where I’ve so often found myself in the past: an imprisoned amnesiac.

Around me are the usual trappings: dank stone, dirt, a bare wooden bed, and a skull. Whether the skull is the last remains of a former prisoner or just goblin decor — there’s really no way of knowing.

This is my fellow prisoner. I don’t remember his appropriately convoluted fantasy name, so I’m just going to call him Wuzzles. I can tell from the way that he’s holding his midsection that he has really bad tummy ache, so it’s up to me to free us from the goblin gulag. Prying a loose rock and bending some bars (really shoddy workmanship, goblins) frees me from captivity, while a conveniently-located bone gives me the beans to bludgeon our goblin gaoler’s brain into putty.

Freeing Wuzzles, he gives me a new name: Am Shegaar (I think that’s how it’s spelled). It means … one who has no memory. Or is it one who has no name? Either way, it fits, but I think it’s going to be weird when I introduce myself to someone as Nameless Amnesiac.

Wuzzles tells me that he’s a member of the Traveller’s Guild. He says the the sun of our world fizzled out a long time ago. Since then, humans, goblins, trolls and dwarves have lived underground, while the surface has become a frozen wasteland. The Traveller’s Guild are the only people with the means to survive on the surface and travel between the various disparate subterranean settlements.

And with the obligatory world building exposition behind us, Wuzzles seneds me through a sewer grate to find a way out of the goblin gulag (I’m going to keep calling it that). His timmy hurts too much to follow, so it’s up to me to find a way out for the both of us.

Next time: rat-eating, spider-bludgeoning, glitched-elevator-dodging, and the triumphant return of Wuzzles — pugilist extraordinaire!

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Filed under Game Diary, Journal