Creative Christmas: A NYE Outfit to stun

For the last few days (with a couple of days off for Christmas itself), I have been taking part in the Creative Christmas challenge set by the awesome Kim at Later Levels. The challenge? To write a gaming related Christmas/New Year story based on prompts and questions across the holiday period. It’s been a great deal of fun so far, and if you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend jumping in for the last few days!!!

Todays’s Question: You’ve been invited to a swanky New Year’s Eve party but have nothing suitable to wear! Which video game character do you call to ask if you can borrow an outfit?

Female game characters

In many ways, today’s question was one of the most difficult for me. After all, there are SO many pretty outfits in video games. I could go for the iconic Bayonetta catsuit!

BayonettaCatsuit

But I really don’t have the body (or hair) to pull that off! Plus I lack the skill to be able to walk in heels without collapsing after a knee injury.

What about Morrigan from Dragon Age’s default outfit? She even has a chantry robe or two she could borrow while I use it (though how happy she’d be about looking like a priestess is another issue entirely).

MorriganOutfit

Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable enough or trusting enough of my body that the awesome top wouldn’t spend the whole night wardrobe malfunctioning, even with a mountain of Hollywood tape holding it on. Morrigan must use magic to make it stay in place so well!

In reality, the outfit I would borrow is the same one I’ve been wanting to wear ever since I first saw it in my teens: Lulu’s outfit from Final Fantasy X. It has a corset to keep my tummy in and my back from hurting, it has a belt skirt to hide my doc martins from anyone who thinks heels are the only way to go at a swanky party AND I’m lucky enough to be able to naturally hold it up (ahem :P). Plus, from the first time I saw it to now, it’s been my favourite outfit I’ve ever seen in a game. It’s just so COOL!

Luluoutfit

Also, I could take my cat with me as my moogle “weapon”

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Want to have a look at yesterday’s answer (the perfect game to play on Christmas day)? Click here.

Want to check out everyone else’s answers? Try looking over here.

Creative Christmas: A Christmassy Game

For the last few days, a bunch of bloggers (including myself) have been challenged by Kim at the always awesome Later Levels blog to write a series of games-related posts across Christmas and New Year. All of them are in response to a question or prompt, and so far have been heaps of fun to write (even if I did take a couple of days off for Christmas).

Today’s question: The presents have been opened and dinner has been eaten, so you’ve got a bit of time for gaming while Gran is snoozing on the sofa. What’s the best video game to play during the holidays?

Yakuza0Disco

I have to admit, a couple of answers spring to mind when I think of the perfect game to play on Christmas day. I could answer Darkest Dungeon as I had so much fun playing it on Christmas day last year. I could answer Witcher 3 as it was the game I couldn’t wait to get back to playing after my Christmas day celebrations ended. I could answer Sexy Brutale as the game my other half most wanted me to check out on Christmas day so he could live vicariously through me. But none of these games really capture the fun of my Christmas this year. To me, at least, nothing captures fun like a quite frankly ridiculous amount of minigames.

And for a quite frankly ridiculous amount of minigames, there has only been one place for me this year, and that is Yakuza: 0.

Yakuza 0 is about Kiryu Kazama who, upon being thrown out of the Yakuza for a murder he did not commit, finds himself working for a shady real estate company playing literally every minigame there is to offer in Kamurocho. As far as I’m concerned it was worth getting kicked out of the yakuza to become slot car racing champion and a whizz at disco dancing. It certainly seems to be a lot more fun.

But when we talk about Yakuza 0 and minigames, really there is only one for me. As much as I enjoy chatting up hostesses and playing the telephone club game, the one minigame that gets me the most excited is karaoke. Why? Because I became totally obsessed. I played the song Judgement over thirty-four times during the course of my first playthrough so I could become good enough to beat the Leisure King when he challenged me to a game. Practising it over and over again, with breaks to play Heartbreak Mermaid and Rogue of Love is genuinely my favourite gaming memory of 2017.

There’s nothing like playing some old favourites on Christmas day, and I think that playing some new favourites would be equally fun. I definitely think that Yakuza: 0 would be my go-to this year.

Yakuza0Judgement

Interested in having a look at the answer to yesterday’s question too? Have a look here.

Interested in seeing everyone else’s answers? Direct your eyes over here.

 

Kickass TV Heroines: Claire Fraser (A Guest Post by Kimothy Gohlich)

I have worked with many amazing people over the years, but rarely have I worked with anyone as cohesively as I do with Kimothy. We have made two successful short films together as co-writers, so when I needed an extra pair of hands (and set of opinions) writing Kickass TV Heroines, he was the first person I turned to. Kimothy has a unique way of seeing things which influences all he creates, and I am incredibly lucky to be able to feature it in both my films and my blog. 

In this post, he discusses the female lead of his favourite show, Outlander.

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claire

 

Name: Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser

Location: Scotland, France, Scotland again, Boston, Scotland AGAIN and The West Indies (She gets around…geographically speaking.)

TV Show: Outlander

Actor: Caitriona Balfe

 

“Sing me a song of a lass that is gone

Say, could that lass be I?

Merry of soul she sailed on a day

Over the sea to Skye”

This is the second (or third, depending on how you count drafts) version of this post that I’ve written. The first version was the one I wanted to write when I was first approached about writing a guest post on Claire. It was an arrogant statement about the way that we view characters as people when they are in fact not, and how the characters we refer to as “strong” are often less so when “strength” refers to the depth and complexity of how they are written and portrayed. That’s not to say that these ideas were wrong or not worth examining, but they were presented in a way that was…well…arrogant.

I’ve always had a…shall we say…conflicted? relationship with art criticism. On the one hand, we have the age-old argument that “art is subjective”, but on the other hand, we are able to point to specifics that make a work “good” or “bad” by some sort of culturally agreed upon metric. Now, saying that “art is subjective” is not a particularly new or interesting thought, but people are weird and fickle, often we love stories that are by critical consensus considered bad or hate those that are considered good.

The point that I’m getting to (in my own, somewhat long-winded way) is that my first version of this post, which was supposed to be a celebration of one of my favourite characters from my favourite TV show, instead became a haughty examination of Claire’s writing and portrayal without expressing any of the love and joy I have for both the character and the show and some of the weird and fickle reasons for that love and joy. Because I genuinely adore Outlander. It is (as I said about a sentence ago) my favourite TV show. But here’s the thing, I’m not sure it’s the best TV show. I think it’s very good (even great), but it’s not without its flaws…and yet I still adore every minute of it, because being good means nothing if I don’t care.

There’s a part of me that just wants to turn the rest of this post into a copy/paste of me writing “HOLY FUCK, I LOVE OUTLANDER SO MUCH!!!” over and over again, but I also realise that I’ve gone three paragraphs talking about me and barely mentioned Claire. Which is stupid, because I love Claire, she makes me care, but I’m also having a hard time trying to express why. So this is where we come back to “art is subjective” and “people are weird and fickle”, because some of the reasons I love Claire ARE subjective and weird and fickle, like the fact that her go-to curse is “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” I find it endearing and hilarious every time she says it and it makes me love her even more despite being a relatively minor detail.

Wait, let’s back up…some of you may not know Outlander or what it’s about and are now wondering “who the fuck is Claire and what is going on and can I get some goddamn context please?” Well, here we go…Claire is a WWII combat nurse (who was raised by her archaeologist uncle…another great, minor detail that I love) who time-travels through a stone circle in Scotland and finds herself 200 years in the past. Whilst there she meets and falls in love with a gorgeous highlander named James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (Jamie for short) and despite her being married to another man in her present (he’s called Frank, he’s actually quite lovely) she marries Jamie (though the marriage is largely to keep her out of the hands of the redcoats who want to “rescue” her) and many adventures ensue.

On the surface, it’s a Mills & Boon-esque romantic fantasy, but the show creates something much greater and epic by making the story of Claire more than just a simple romance (even if the romance is still the heart of it). It elevates Claire to a heroine who does more than swoon and gets swept off her feet and it’s not just because she’s strong-willed, but also because she’s sometimes not. There is an emotional weight to the moments when Claire shows her strength because we know she’s not just being strong because she just is strong, but because she’s making the choice to be strong. We know because we see the moments when she’s not strong…aaand I’m starting to feel like I need a thesaurus so I stop writing “strong” so much…anyway, watching Claire take charge of a situation and put the men around her in their place (something that happens often in the course of the show) feels meaningful because we’ve seen times when she’s been too scared to do so. Knowing that she’s overcoming something within herself gives her choice that weight and meaning.

But also Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan (who plays Jamie) are both fucking gorgeous and watching two beautiful romantic leads make out and get sexy with each other is great. Claire is a character that appeals to both my superficial side (She’s gorgeous and says “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” and is a time-travelling WWII nurse who was raised by an archaeologist and I still can’t quite get over how awesome I think that is) and my craves-depth-and-complexity side (her strength, her lack of strength and a whole host of other things that I didn’t talk about in hopes of keeping this post to a reasonable length) and Outlander is a show that appeals to both my superficial side (the one that wants to watch pretty people do things in pretty pictures with pretty music playing) and my craves-depth-and-complexity side (the romance between Claire and Jamie which is far more than just star-crossed lovers and actually feels like an honest-to-god real relationship) and HOLY FUCK, I LOVE OUTLANDER SO MUCH!!!

“Billow and breeze, islands and seas

Mountains of rain and sun

All that was good, all that was fair

All that was me is gone”

JamieandClaire

If you are interested in seeing more of Kimothy Gohlich’s work, please check out his intermittently used Twitter.

Creative Christmas: Time for Food!

I (and many other talented bloggers) have been challenged to write a series of blogs on gaming, Christmas and New Year by the wonderful Kim over at Later Levels. I have been absent for the last few as I have been away spending Christmas with my Mum and good family friends. I hope everyone else has had a Christmas as amazing and loving as I had. But back to today’s question:

Today’s Question:  It’s now time to head out to the kitchen to put on your oven gloves and start preparing Christmas dinner. It consists solely of video game food; what’s on the menu?

SkyrimFeast

I have been reading high fantasy almost my whole life, and although Christmas in Australia is pretty warm, I can’t think of a better Christmas meal than the typical high fantasy feast: mead, potatoes, fresh bread and roast meat. And no one does the high fantasy feast better than Skyrim.

I’m a big fan of spending Christmas at home or at a friend’s house rather than at the local tavern, so on this day, I would choose to abandon The Bannered Mare and share the meal with my family and trusted friends at Heljarchen Hall in the Pale. Not only does it have an amazing view of Whiterun, it has all the modern-day feasting equipment necessary for the perfect Christmas feast.

We would enjoy freshly roasted beef from the spit, freshly baked vegetables and bread made from wheat milled at our own grain mill. Platters would overflow with cheese, roast rabbit, and grilled leeks. And for dessert, nothing beats snowberry crostata and sweet rolls fresh from the oven. Naturally all this would have to be washed down with Honningbrew mead and an obligatory couple of bottles of Nord mead, during which our bard would have to be quiet while we sang the traditional Skyrim drinking song.

The whole thing couldn’t be more different from the type Christmas I celebrate every year, but it’d be so much fun! Maybe that’s something I could consider doing Christmas in July for this coming year…

SkyrimSweetRoll

If you’d like to see my answer to the always infamous mistletoe question, take a look here.

If you’d like to check out everyone else’s answers, take a gander over here.

Creative Christmas: Of Mistletoe and Lamposts (spoilers)

This post contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Origins.

For the last four days, I have been taking part in a Christmas game-themed challenge set by Kim over at the exceptional Later Levels blog. It’s been an enormous amount of fun, and I highly recommend joining in for a couple of posts!!!

Today’s Question: The party is still going strong and you find yourself conveniently positioned under the mistletoe. Which video game character would you call over for a cheeky kiss?

Alistair

I’m fairly sure pretty much everyone who knows me had guessed my answer already. I love this character so much I named my cat after him. There is only one game character for me and that character is Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins.

My relationship (because it is serious enough to call it that) with Alistair began when a friend of mine handed me the game when I was upset about missing out on a relationship with a crush. He told me that this game had a character who would make me feel better through his wit and prettiness. I scoffed. I’d never found animated characters attractive, in games, television or otherwise, what would be the difference here?

How wrong I was.

Alistairgrin

As soon as I saw that blonde hair and impish grin I was totally hooked. Suddenly my sulky Dalish elf rogue was falling over herself, trying to get this gorgeous grey warden to like her. It didn’t matter what I did and thought in the game, WHAT WAS ALISTAIR DOING!? I was more than a little obsessed. I was over the moon when my character had her first kiss with him (persistence, in this case, works), but then… then it all fell apart. I knew Anora wasn’t to be trusted, so I made Alistair the king of Ferelden. And if he was king, he decided, then he couldn’t be with someone of non-noble blood.

I was angry. I was upset. I was heartbroken. I genuinely had pizza, a tub of ice-cream and half a bottle of wine. In real life. I cried for a couple of hours. In real life. It felt like an actual break up. To be fair, I did calm down after that evening, but the scars on my heart remain.

AlistairShirtless

Having said that, those scars are somewhat healed by the fact I have since played the game as a human noble and become Queen of Ferelden twice. What can I say? I’m petty.

Even after all that, I can’t think of a fictional character I would like a Christmas kiss from more. And if it can’t be under the mistletoe, maybe be it can be outside in the snow under a lampost 😉

Alistair1

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read my answer to yesterday’s question, have a look here.

If you would like to see everyone else’s answers to the infamous mistletoe question and would like to join in with tomorrow’s question, have a look over here.

Also, especially for Ms LightningEllen, here is a picture of Alistair the cat. Almost as cute as his namesake 😛

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Weekend Breakfast 23/12/17 (and why I’ve been semi-away)

Hi all,

It’s been a crazy week, what with being in the apartment just me and the cat and preparing for Christmas. It’s a bit of a long post this week, so please bear with me as we share this weekend breakfast and chat about what’s been happening this week.

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In life…

To get the more difficult stuff out of the way first, many of you will have noticed that two of my regular series (Kickass TV Heroines and my one of specials on movies and games) haven’t been appearing regularly in recent weeks. I wanted to wait until I had a proper explanation to talk about it, but it looks like that won’t happen at least until mid-January so I want to take the time to explain what I can now.

As many of you know, I have a chronic illness (for more background, have a look here), but recently it’s been getting much worse. This week has been one of the worst weeks in terms of my health for a very long time. My body struggles to absorb iron, and recently it’s stopped absorbing it properly from food. I’m also unable to take iron supplements or, as I recently found out, intravenous iron injections. Lack of iron means a lack of energy, and boy! have I been feeling that recently. One day last week I was even unable to get out of bed for most of the day! I’m having to adjust to having a very different energy pattern to what I’m used to as my symptoms get worse. I will still try and update my ongoing series as I can, but it’s quite difficult to write the longer forms that I try to do for them at the moment. Luckily I have a couple of guest writers to cover the next couple of weeks of Kickass TV Heroines, and I’m hoping to finish off my two requested posts and have them up early in the new year.

Enough talking about being ill! Other than that this week has been all about the Christmas prep (and cleaning the house for our upcoming inspection). That means lots of shopping for yummy food, looking at cooking ideas, planning things with my mum, and buying presents! It’s my other half’s birthday today, and to distract myself from the fact that we’re spending it apart (boo), I’m throwing myself a mini-Christmas. Christmas movies, wrapping presents and mimosas! Yay!

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In gaming…

To absolutely no one’s surprise, I’ve continued to play the Witcher 3 this week. As I’ve been saying every week, it’s pretty damn amazing. It might have actually made its way into my top three favourite games! I’m playing the section in Skellige at the moment and I keep having to stop to admire the beautiful landscape and music. It’s one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had playing a game.

Witchermusic

 

In watching…

I feel like I have watched so much this week! I’ve watched a bunch of The Punisher (yes, there will be a discussion of it up at some point), a little bit of The Crown, and a lot of The Flash. I’ve actually really enjoyed everything I’ve been watching, but The Flash stood out this week for me. It might be because I’m going through a bit of my own darkness with my illness, but watching a superhero show that is predominantly light, fluffy and happy was just great. The Flash actually feels different from a lot of superhero things in that regard. It doesn’t seem to really take itself seriously, and that’s pretty damn wonderful.

Flash

 

Finally, I will be around(ish) as part of Creative Christmas, but I may be offline a bit more in the next few days as I want to spend time with my lovely Mum over Christmas. I wish you all the very best over the next few days. I know Christmas can be a lonely or difficult time for some, but I hope you all find some light somewhere.

As always, I would love to hear what you all have been up to this week? Watch anything interesting? Play something new? Or is it all just hectic Christmas preparations? Let me know in the comments!

 

Holly

ThatGeekyWriterChick

 

Banana Bread photo was taken at Atlas, Gungahlin (it was delicious!)

 

Creative Christmas: A Gaming Soundtrack

For the last few days, I (and a bunch of other bloggers) have been taking part in a challenge set by Kim at the wonderful Later Levels blog to write part of a Christmassy gaming story for twelve days. It’s been heaps of fun so far, and although I was going to take a break today (hence the late answer, I’m rushing to get this done before midnight), but I’ve decided to continue.

Today’s question: It’s now Christmas Eve and you’re throwing a lively party for all your friends, family and favourite characters. Which video game soundtracks would be on your playlist?

Witchermusic

I have to admit, I don’t often listen to gaming soundtracks outside the game. It’s pretty much limited to when there’s an individual song on the soundtrack I loved or one of my friends (or partner) is listening to one. But, like everything in life, there are exceptions. In my many years of gaming, only three soundtracks have grabbed me enough for me to hunt them down and listen to them by themselves: the Mass Effect soundtrack, the Skyrim soundtrack, and most recently, the soundtrack to the Witcher: The Wild Hunt.

I’m currently playing through the Skellige section of Witcher 3, and I can’t think of better music for a relaxing Christmas than that awesome blend of Celtic and orchestral music that part has. It’s been beautiful to listen to, so beautiful that I often find myself riding/sailing around Skellige just to hear it.

SkelligeWindsareWild

However, it is my favourite games-related music for Christmas? My answer to that, unfortunately, would have to be a resounding no. Why? Because my favourite games-related Christmas music, and indeed all of my favourite music, is always Miracle of Sound.

For those of you who don’t know of it, Miracle of Sound is a band (consisting of the incredibly talented Gavin Dunne and sometimes guests) who pretty much makes songs exclusively about video games. He uses lots of different genres, as he believes good songs transcend their genre, and that fits my eclectic music taste perfectly. Here’s one of his songs about the Witcher:

 

Here’s one about Tomb Raider:

 

And here is my choice for games-related Christmas song:

 

If you would like to see my answer to yesterday’s question, have a look here.

If you would like to see other people’s answers, and maybe join in with tomorrow’s question, try looking over here.