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Let’s Play Star Trek Online Episode 10


Let’s Play Star Trek Online!  A break in the action AGAIN to select a new ship for my now level 10 and Lt. Commander Federation character.  We go through ship selection and ship customization in this episode.

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As I go through the series, you can give me suggestions for what gear to get, so leave that in the comments.

This material is used under fair use laws, there is no profit made from this and all copyrights are held by their original owners. Star Trek and all likenesses are copyright Paramount Pictures.  Star Trek Online is a licensed product of Cryptic Studios.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in video, Zodiviews

 

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The monstrous hipocrasy of GamerGate


GamerGate has become a monstrous thing.  It says it is a attempting to clean up corruption in journalism.  If that was the case, one of their biggest targets should be Fox News.  On the face of it, cleaning up journalism and forcing it to be fair and balanced is a good thing.  But in all honesty, GamerGate really doesn’t have a firm or solid philosophy.

At it’s birth, it began as one guy whining about his ex-girlfriend, who just happened to be making a video game.  He whined so much, he wrote a 10,000 word rant (which is a really big waste of time).  With that kind of energy, he could have used that to make a really awesome first draft of a novella, but no, he used it to complain that his ex-girlfriend cheated on him.

From there, it went into something else, as members of this “movement” attempted to give it solid ground.  GamerGate is against corrupt journalism.  But what they view as being corrupt is opinionated reviews of video games.  Which is impossible to make a review of a video game without being opinionated.  The reviewer plays the game, the reviewer has an opinion on everything in that game from story, to graphics, to game play, and even box art if he or she so chooses.  That’s how a review goes.  If you disagree with the review, that’s fine.  No one’s saying you’re stupid (or they shouldn’t) because you find a review that doesn’t match with your feelings on a game (or movie).  Hell, there’s games and movies I loved playing that reviewers tanked on.

GamerGate has recently said they are anti-harassment.  Again, this is fine on the surface.  But many of the more outspoken members of this movement also happen to be serial harassers.  Several have targeted known feminist and pop culture reviewer Anita Sarkeesian.  They have done so with death threats and rape threats.  And she’s not alone.  Some of the more outspoken members of this “movement” have gone on to make parody video games where Anita is beaten bloody.  I use parody with tongue in cheek.  And it’s constant harassment.  If GamerGate is so against harassment, why isn’t it, as a “movement”, attempting to filter out these negative elements and moving away from them.

But GamerGate has allied themselves (or has received alliance from) some major Men’s Right Activists.  Some of whom are outspoken haters of reviewers like Sarkeesian.

If GamerGate does anything, it’ll be to make mainstream media take several awkward steps away from the video game industry.  Throwing it back into the stone age of media and ignoring it completely.  GamerGate has accomplished to make themselves look like right wing extreme radicals who want education stripped away from women (the Taliban), who want the rights of women’s health scrutinized by legislative law (several right wing legislatures in the United States), and close off equal opportunity to everyone (many States which have but a ban on gay marriage or made it impossible for trans*gender people to get jobs or living accomodations).

There’s going to be those who will say comparing GamerGate to the Taliban is extreme.  Normally, I would agree, but one GamerGate individual has already proven that comparison is dead on.  Of course, it could also be compared to the Montreal massacre at Ecole Polytechnique in the late 80s.  A message was sent to USU which stated “Feminists have ruined my life, and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all others they’ve wronged”.  It was signed Marc Lepine, who is ironically, the name of the individual who killed a number of women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.  One individual, basically a murdering psychopath.  But GamerGate has a whole host who have proven they are ready, willing, and able to issue death threats, rape threats, to dox, to form hate filled diatribes of women, and blame it all on some fantasy called misandry (which DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST!).  So I think the comparison of GamerGate champions to the Taliban is pretty dead on.

I do apologize if the comparison has triggered anyone who has actually been affected by the Taliban, as they as a group have committed atrocious acts of violence, have committed acts of rape and murder, and have used their version of ideals to commit crimes in the name of God.  Those who have felt the effects of the Taliban, and other organizations like them, I do apologize because your suffering is very real, and we should take care when mentioning it.

But GamerGate, you’re on the cusp of becoming that.  You are driving people from their homes with real fears that you will enact violence on them.  You are very close to becoming a terrorist organization, leaderless or not.  You, GamerGate, are a new brand of evil.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Life, randomness

 

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What makes a gamer?


The concept of what makes a gamer has been around for some time.  I’d say since before video games, to be honest, though the term “gamer” wasn’t necessarily used in such a way.  But exploring the concept and the idea is an interesting one, considering the fact that a whole new brand of gamer is flourishing.  That being women.

I should back up a bit.  Women aren’t actually a new brand of gamer, they’ve been around since before video games.  They’ve been part of table top pen and paper, board games and other various gaming aspects like outdoor games like croquet, lawn darts, and even baseball.  But in the present, when we hear the term gamer, it’s most often associated with someone who plays video games.  And even then, to brand women as “new gamers” is also very naive as women have been playing video games on console and PC (and even Mac) since those devices have been around.

But what makes a gamer?  Is it the fact that they managed to play and beat Mario Brothers on the NES?  Or have a complete collection of Mario, Sonic, or any number of side scrolling games?  Maybe they had played some of the first FPS games such as Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, or even the lesser known Corridor 7.  Perhaps they made WAD files to modify Doom or Castle Wolfenstein.  Maybe they had a complete collection of Sierra Games, like Hero’s Quest, Police Quest, or Space Quest.  Perhaps it was a combination of PC, console and table top games that they played.

They could have had a vast collection of Magic the Gathering cards, Marvel/DC/Image Overpower cards, or even Pokemon cards.  Trading and playing with their friends, or buying booster packs.  Could have been they played any number of pen and paper games from Dungeons and Dragons (and all versions from 1st ED, 2nd ED, Combat and Tactics/Skills and Powers, 3rd ED, 3.5ED and onto 4th ED), Champions, Shadowrun, or  White Wolf games.

While listing all of these may have brought back a few memories, their existence in what makes a gamer now is completely irrelevant.  What makes a gamer now is that they play games.  Regardless of their gender.  They might mop up the floor in Multiplayer COD, or lead raids in WoW, or have one of the most coveted level 80 Guardians in GW2.  They might even have a kick ass house and family set up in Sims.  Maybe a killer deck combo in MTG.  What really matters is that they play games.

Throughout life, we don’t question someone by their regular actions.   Well, we shouldn’t, I should say.  Because too often that happens.  But too often the questions go in one direction.  That direction being pointed toward a female.  From what she was wearing, to what she was drinking, to what she was eating, to even what she was doing.  When the gaming culture (and by extension, the geek culture) discovers a woman who has a love of a certain game, the common knee jerk reaction is to grill her on the game and all history of the game.  What should be the reaction is to enjoy the moment.  Somebody else likes a thing that you like.  That’s pretty cool.  But often with men, when they find a girl playing their game (or reading their comic or watching their television show) they sometimes find that thing less appealing because suddenly a girl likes the thing they like.  And now, it’s up to that one dudebro to find out if her like for that thing is a legitimate like.

Here’s a secret; her like for a thing is a legitimate like, because it was her decision.  Not the decision of some committee that said “you may like this thing now”.  She made the decision, she plays this thing a lot and enjoys it, and every time she plays it she get better at it.  That’s what makes her a gamer.

Gender is completely irrelevant when it comes to the title gamer.  Women have been there a long time, but thanks to the common reaction from men, they’ve been too busy whining that there’s no women playing/reading/watching their favourite thing to really open their eyes and realize it.  But women have been quiet about it as well, not because they have a secret club or anything.  They’ve been quiet because for the longest time men have made the environment that revolves around comics, gaming and other geek culture aspects incredibly hostile.

That’s starting to change now, and it’s thanks to a lot of different women who have stood up and basically said “I’m not gonna take this bullshit anymore”.  They’re women, they play games, they read comic books, they cosplay, they watch the same movies that dudes watch.

The term gamer doesn’t have a gender, nor does it require a PhD in History.  It just requires someone to love gaming.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

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The Fake Geek Girl


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The term has been heard all over the internets lately, and it’s become a really disparaging phrase.  Those three words have been used to describe not just someone who may be opportunistic, but anyone who happens to identify as being a woman.  And even if someone is being opportunistic, really who cares.

At one time, I recall finding a woman who was really into “geek culture” to be really awesome and someone I could talk to for hours about this awesome thing that happened to be my hobby.  Because then I could talk to someone and not have them give me a weird look when I tell them the story about how hilarious it was to have a halfling paladin begin a paladin charge.  On a Shetland pony.  Forget the fact that in the table top D&D group I was involved that we never had anyone commit to a paladin charge before, that wasn’t the humourous part.  It was the fact that one of the first times the commitment was made, it was by a halfling on a Shetland pony.  Charging a giant.

To most, that story would have made no sense, but to anyone who knew of the aspects of Second Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Skills and Powers, Combat and Tactics, they’d get the concept and find why it was so funny.  Halflings, after all, weren’t known for being paladins.  Most of the time whenever I talked to someone outside of my little group, I’d get this look or often the question of “so when are you gonna finally grow out of this”.  As though because I was an adult, that such things as this were rather frivolous.  Childish.

I’ve had close female friends I’ve been able to talk to about stuff like video games, comic books and movies that appeal to “geek culture”.  I’ve had long conversations about the Sims, finding the interesting things about Second Life, hearing about a friend’s raiding in World of Warcraft and showing off the world of Tyria in Guild Wars 2.  And hearing that sound once they saw it, that sound that said “I have to get this game”.

I recall that the first comics an ex girlfriend began reading were the Sandman books, and later one of the Death series by Neil Gaiman.  She liked the portrayal of Death, as someone who wasn’t this image of doom, but as someone who looked a little more positively about the afterlife.  We even read one of the children’s books together that Gaiman wrote, all thanks to the Sandman series.

I honestly do not understand why this attitude prevails that women don’t have a vested interest in something simply because they happen to be women.  There’s a good chance that a lot of women out there who happen to read comic know more about them than I do.  Simply because I have drifted away from the medium in the last decade.  When you do find someone who really likes the same or similar things that you do, talk to them.  Don’t grill them or doubt their passion for something.  They don’t exist to threaten your love of something.  They could end up being a really good friend and someone to talk to for hours about all of those things you enjoy reading or watching or playing.

The next woman you talk to that happens to play video games could be your next raid partner in World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2.  So make sure you’re not a jerk to them.  And don’t see them for only one thing, because the chances you lose a friend, or a possible friend, increase when you act like a jerk.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

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Features of the game


So I got a pleasant surprise over the weekend while playing Star Trek Online (no really, I’m not obsessed with the game, I just like to play it).  This is one of those things where a person could say “hey, that’s really cool” or “wow, now people can obsess about an MMO without actually logging into game”.  I honestly don’t know if this is the first MMO that’s done this or if it’s been done before, but the easiest way to explain it is through pictures.

This is completely online and seems to be flash based.  But the interesting thing about this once the loading screen finishes, is that this site will keep a list of your characters (don't worry, it's run through Cryptic not some third party).

This is completely online and seems to be flash based. But the interesting thing about this once the loading screen finishes, is that this site will keep a list of your characters (don’t worry, it’s run through Cryptic not some third party).

Once you log in, there are you characters ready to be viewed.  I clicked on my main character, my Federation Vice Admiral.

Once you log in, there are you characters ready to be viewed. I clicked on my main character, my Federation Vice Admiral.  As you can see, it has access to all the information about her, such as ship specs, personnel files, what accolades I’ve achieved with her and what fleet she’s a member of.

There's the ship, the U.S.S. Ocelot, tactical escort retrofit, Defiant Class.  And there's all the systems that are used to help give the Ocelot her weaponry and defense.

There’s the ship, the U.S.S. Ocelot, tactical escort retrofit, Defiant Class. And there’s all the systems that are used to help give the Ocelot her weaponry and defense.

This is the beam cutting weapon, and the basic information is given.  It does not, however, give the information about it being part of the Omega set nor does it give the extra specs that comes with having each piece.

This is the beam cutting weapon, and the basic information is given. It does not, however, give the information about it being part of the Omega set nor does it give the extra specs that comes with having each piece.

Personal page, giving all of the information about the character, such as rank, biography, weaponry, shields, armour, and so on.  You can even click on each piece to get more information about it, just as you could on the ship page.

Personal page, giving all of the information about the character, such as rank, biography, weaponry, shields, armour, and so on. You can even click on each piece to get more information about it, just as you could on the ship page.  Little disappointed that right now it has a generic figure displayed instead of my character.

You can even examine the bridge crew, clicking on each member for more information.

You can even examine the bridge crew, clicking on each member for more information.  This displays similar to the view of the main character, the one the player plays.

You can even take a look at your accolades, though it does not give you progression of accolades you haven't completed, just the accolades you've fully completed.

You can even take a look at your accolades, though it does not give you progression of accolades you haven’t completed, just the accolades you’ve fully completed.

You can even examine your fleet page, which can detail the roster, the fleet description, events that are going on (which is helpful if you want to check what's happening with the fleet so you can work that around plans).  You can also examine your star base construction progression.

You can even examine your fleet page, which can detail the roster, the fleet description, events that are going on (which is helpful if you want to check what’s happening with the fleet so you can work that around plans). You can also examine your star base construction progression.

This part's rather interesting, because you can actually contribute to whatever projects are taking place without logging into game (I  did not actually give over 10,000 dilithium to that project, I did that as an example, besides, I need that dilithium for personal projects).  You can also view the leader boards for star base and embassy projects to see who is doing most of the work (or contributing most of the resources).

This part’s rather interesting, because you can actually contribute to whatever projects are taking place without logging into game (I did not actually give over 10,000 dilithium to that project, I did that as an example, besides, I need that dilithium for personal projects). You can also view the leader boards for star base and embassy projects to see who is doing most of the work (or contributing most of the resources).

So this is kind of neat, but just so long as Cryptic decides to keep it as something you can look at and inspect and that’s it.  Don’t make a mini game of STO with a flash based engine because that will just end up giving people the excuse to play at work (if they don’t already).  There’s other things I could be doing at work.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Fun, randomness

 

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Ah, the good ol’ days


Remember the days of video games that you bought in a box and had paper instruction manuals?  In some case, more than one disc?  Fortunately, this was on a DVD, so there was disc changing.  It’s the diamond edition of Neverwinter Nights from Bioware, and took me two minutes to punch in the serial code.

Mind you, I still have the original discs that have been quite badly scratched (thus, why I bought the diamond edition which has both expansion packs, Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark), but can you imagine swapping out discs to install a game now?  Especially when the current trend is to digitally purchase it and download it.  But I still have those discs, and the only way to play it now is to have a friend who might have an extra copy (such as me having two copies).

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Along with all three of the original manuals.

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And… apparently a Far Side book was tucked in next to them.

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Light reading material for later, to be honest.

Ah, but forgive my brief nostalgia.  It brought back wonderful memories.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Fun, randomness

 

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Innovation – the new buzz word


My hands can create light!

My hands can create light!

Before I go into my own new description (yes, I know I haven’t posted anything for a while, but I’ve got some things on my plate), take a gander at this video first from Jim Sterling at the Escapist Magazine.  He talks about innovation in video games, and it’s something I want to point out more in usage of the term.  But first, the video.

Innovation, as Mr. Sterling pointed out (getting past some of the more crass aspects of the man) has become an over used term.  It’s the new buzz word.  I remember when I worked in broadcasting how I began to loathe buzz words.  Like “It’s on the back burner” or “it’ll climb to the top”.  There were others, but in the decade since I worked in radio (more than a decade, actually), we’ve managed as a society to keep our buzz words to just one word phrases.

Now, we’re using innovation like it’s the next great thing, and I honestly don’t think that people really understand what the word means.  The CEO of Apple uses it every time a new product comes out, like the new iPhone, iPad or computer system.  Google’s done it.  So has Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry, and on and on and on.  But really, what they mean is “we’ve taken the thing our competitor made, and made it better” which isn’t innovation, it’s just lazy.

The same can be said for story telling.

I know there’s a few movies that have come out as reimaginings of the original (like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Psycho) where someone somewhere has said the film is taking a bold, innovative direction.  But it wasn’t innovative when you’re basically telling exactly the same story.  In truth, the dictionary meaning of the word comes from innovate, which means at its root “to alter”, but also means to create as though for the very first time.  I see lots of the former, but very little of the latter.  And that’s part in parcel because that kind of innovation requires a dirty R word.  Risk.  And nobody likes risk, unless it’s the board game (and then, nobody likes having the weakest defensible point on the board, unless you have Australia).

In order to do something really new (or really innovative) one has to take a risk.  Let’s be honest, nobody is doing that in any form of entertainment medium.  Not video games, not movies, not comic books.  At least, it’s very rare in comics.  And those movies and video games that are really innovative, are usually passed over without so much as a glance by those who follow the mainstream (if anyone has some REALLY innovative movies they know of, leave them in the comments, it’ll give me more movie watching material later).  There is one place where such things do take place, and that happens to be in books.  But I also believe that books, printed and digital media, happen to have a leg up on the aspect of innovation.  There are some really great books being published.  Admittedly, there’s a lot of steaming piles of shit, too, but there’s a lot of good that’s being published.  Not all of it is coming from the mainstream publishing houses, and even some is being self published.

For now, can we all agree to stop using the word innovation, because it’s getting tired with how badly it’s being misused.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

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