Saturday, 25 January 2014

I'm not mad. I'm just drawn that way.

A little bonus graphic I had done by bunpurr of Linds from Date Warp:

It is worth noting that this is the only game I have left on Greenlight that hasn't quite gotten the tip yet. I have done pretty much nothing at all to advertise it since the day Greenlight launched, because I really wasn't sure how well a visual novel - with a scifi theme, but a female protagonist and a host of pretty boys - would go over with the Steam audience and didn't want to blow out my credit pushing something on them that they didn't want. So I left it to sink or swim on its own merits... which has meant hovering somewhere just outside the top100 for a while now.

If it ever did pass, that would be a great excuse for me to finally get the Special Bonus Exciting Thing done for it that I've kind of wanted to do for a long time... So, you know, it's up to you. :)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

pointless self-indulgence PONIES PONIES PONIES

It's not exactly a secret that I was an old-school MLP fan, back when ponies were about fighting off potion-wielding sorceresses and soul-stealing demons. I've never really gotten into Friendship Is Magic, not because I have anything against it, but because I already have ponies in my heart and I don't feel the need to replace them.

This is boring toy talk, nothing to do with games. I just wanted to see if I can figure out how many of the things I used to own when I was little before I moved out and my family disposed of the collection. If you are not a pony fanatic ESCAPE NOW.

Some of these almost certainly belonged to my sister rather than me, technically, but I can't possibly remember by now. It's also possible I'll forget a few or think I had one just because it got talked about too much but nobody's perfect.

Year 1 - Blossom and Cotton Candy. Yes, I was in on this thing from the very beginning. They were kind of boring ponies, though. All they had going for them was being pink and purple.

Year 2 - Glory, Moondancer, and Sunbeam. I liked unicorns. And their symbols were sparkly! These three probably suffered the most abuse of any ponies in my collection, though. I'm pretty sure I lost at least one of them, and at least one other had her tail pulled out due to a cleaning accident. I think. Also, those glittery symbols tended to rub off. Sunbeam never got any attention in the cartoons and I think I ended up giving her more of Ribbon's personality in play? I was much fonder of Glory and Moondancer. IIRC in the intervening years I've found at least one bit of pony merchandise which made them a couple... although said merchandise was a little confused about standard pony gender. I can't remember which of them it made into a boy.

Oh yes, also Moonstone - another unicorn but this one with RAINBOW HAIR. Don't remember much about her though.

Year 3 - Tickle (first pegasus, and I'm pretty sure she 'belonged' to my sister. I really was more unicorn-obsessed.) Baby Glory and Baby Moondancer (told you I liked them).

Sea Shimmer (my only Sea Pony, i think).

Maaaaybe Megan and Sundance? I feel like I must have had Megan, but at the same time the doll looks wrong somehow. Possibly just because that dress is so unsuited to the character. Perhaps I dressed her in something else immediately and that's why it feels so odd. Was there a special Bendy Legs Megan designed to sit on ponies?

Year 4 - The fuzzy version of Lickety Split, which I thought was kind of creepy and never got any other furry ponies. I think I bought her because Lickety Split was featuring a lot in the cartoons?

Masquerade, the first pegasus that was actually mine, because she had jewel eyes and was therefore cooler than just a normal pegasus. Obviously they represented arcane laser power.

We found the blinky-eyed babies interesting as well and probably had Baby Ribbon and Baby Gusty. Maybe Baby Lickety-Split but I'm not sure.

I owned Morning Glory for about three minutes. Like many disappointed little girls, as soon as I got her out of the packaging her wings IMMEDIATELY broke, and as we were still in the car leaving the toy store my parents went right back in and complained and I got something else instead. Today there are people on ebay who will custom-make you better replacement wings for your wingless Flutter Pony because let's face it, if you played with that toy you broke it.

Baby Half Note - my sister was into ballet, I'm pretty sure she got this playset.

Molly and Baby Sundance - again, I'm uncertain about this.

... Are you terrified by this list yet?

Year 5 - Princess Tiffany, who ruled over the high shelf in my closet (because princesses cannot mingle with the common folk except in emergency drama situations) and was obviously the best pony ever because I thought Tiffany was a pretty neat name at the time. If only her wand had been purple instead of blue, because then it would have been amethystine and sheer perfection (my birthstone).

Baby Tic Tac Toe and Baby Fifi? Those had to have been my little sister's. Plus Milkweed and Tumbleweed and Noodles and Doodles. I can't remember what was interesting about the twin baby ponies other than them being small enough to fit into toy prisons (my playtime got weird occasionally)

Also, Spunky the Camel. Not sure why. Maybe there weren't any good ponies on the shelf that day. Maybe I was getting bored.

Year 6 - ... and all of a sudden I think I got ponied out. The cartoon must have come to an end. Also, I was sort of growing older by this point! I may have had the Twice As Fancy version of Buttons but most of the ponies in the year 6 list don't even sound familiar, and the years past that are a complete blank.

What can we tell from this?

Unicorns are the superior breed of pony. Not only could they teleport, they also got bonus magic powers based on their symbols. If you want an invincible pony army you want unicorns.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

'Better than Bechdel'

Feel free to skip this, as it's nothing new if you've played the game already. For curiosity's sake I wanted to go over the proposed characteristics in this post and see how Long Live The Queen would hold up. So unless you're interested in that sort of thing, there's nothing to see here.

That said, how DO we score?

Gamers commonly refer to a female character in a way that highlights they are a female variant of a male character. If there is no named female character, these points are still lost.

I've never seen anyone refer to Elodie in such a way.

The most prominent Female Character in the game wasn’t important to the plot. The plot could have happened without them.

Elodie is the plot.

Prominent Female Characters in the game are primarily there as kidnap victims, general victims, prizes to be won or healers/ non combatants in combat games.

You could frame the story as one in which Elodie is a victim, since the bad ends involve her dying and you're trying not to let that happen, but you could say that about almost all video game protagonists. She's never kidnapped and she definitely does fight.

Charlotte falls into more of the traditional girly role, although she's less distressed than she seems to be in most people's first playthroughs. Several other female characters never have any of those traits at all.

Female Characters don’t feel like they might have believably picked out their own outfit. To clarify, skimpy outfits are still okay as long as it fits in a narrative context and seems easily justifiable. (Example: a woman going undercover as a prostitute would likely choose a revealing outfit of her own accord).

Women Wearing “Boob Sclupted Armour”. These points are lost in a non Armour game if women are wearing needlessly sexualised outfits without narrative purpose.

Anyone who wants to argue with me about the tutu has clearly not watched enough ballet.

There is the magical girl outfit, which is a little on the skimpy side (for those who haven't seen it - midriff-bare and very-short-skirt, with high stockings). I have honestly heard a lot more complaints about it from male players uncomfortable with seeing a young girl dressed like that than I have from female ones (I don't have a large pool of very young female playtesters to draw on; the only comment I have specifically heard from a young girl about that outfit was 'Pretty'.)

I don't think there's any real problem along these lines with the rest of the outfits?

A) Female is a never selectable playable character option.
B) Female is a secondary playable character option
C) Every playthrough requires you to play as a female character at some point, but the vast majority of the game you play as a male character.

Elodie's female, you don't have any other option.

Previous Bechdel test involving two important female characters talking to each other about something other than a man

I watched an LPer get slightly exasperated at the point where he was trying to voice four female characters having a conversation together at once (and it wasn't about men). While your playthrough might not get that particular scene, you can't avoid having women talking to each other.

A female playable lead is restricted to melee weapons if they take part in combat. If men take part in combat but women do not, these points are also lost.

Elodie has a range of options for attacking people: swords, staves, bows, and BLOWING YOU UP WITH FIRE.

No female character can be described using words that are antonyms to Pristine. (grizzled, battle scared, flawed, manipulative, evil ect). Basically this requires them to be a flawed character, without relying on stereotypical female flaws (Vulnerable, emotional ect).

There are manipulative and evil women. Not a lot of grizzled or scarred, though, other than by age and having had a lot of children (hi, Arisse).

Uses Gendered Identifiers prominently to denote Female Character(s)

In the context that this was meant, no.

A Female Protagonist is not prominently featured on the game box art (specifically the front cover).

Elodie is prominently featured.

In a game where you choose your protagonist gender, Male is the Default. Side note, you also loose these three points if you have no choice but to play the whole game male.

Again, she's your only character.

No Female character, portrayed as straight and Cisgender, enjoys a stereotypically Male pursuit or, if they do, it’s made into a big deal.

What exactly counts as a stereotypically male pursuit in a fantasy setting?

Well, Elodie can joust and fence if she chooses to and no-one in game thinks this is at all unusual. Several players have been upset by the idea of a young girl being challenged to a duel, though.

A Cisgender Woman does not at any point appear as an enemy/ villain . If they are an enemy or villain, it’s for reasons related to their gender or the actions of a man.

Depending on your playthrough you may or may not encounter them, but there are at least two major female villains/antagonists and their reasons are not about their gender or the actions of a man. (Not counting the Queen of Shanjia who only goes after you if you kill her husband.)

The most prominent female character’s story is highly dependent on that of the most prominent male character.

Elodie's poor dad is often considered by players to be the most useless video game father in existence - he does very little in many playthroughs except sigh and go along with whatever you say. The story is definitely about her, not him.

The game is a spin off from a series that features primarily Male protagonists.