Be still, poor heart…

Coming home for the weekend… I find the hallway completely overrun with old ‘trash’ from the attic. All our old books, toys, lego, … Almost all of it had to go. Thank god my mum gave me the chance to go through it one more time, to see what I want to keep. Of course after telling me with a sad smile I’d ‘deprive’ some child in need of all the great experiences I had years ago. Blackmail I call it! Blackmail!

So, I found tons of things to go nostalgic over. I almost cried with all the memories. But that’s not what I wanted to show you guys. In between all the stuff I’d gladly donate to some less fortunate kid, I found this beauty I’ll never part with:

If you remember Tracy Island… You’re awesome! No offense to the kids younger than me, but they don’t know what they missed. It’s only one of the best children’s show ever. Of course I’m talking about  Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John Tracy. Also known as… *drumroll* The Thunderbirds!

Oh and… Thunderbird 5 was sooooo the best one! Without him, all the others would be lost and informationless. You can’t rescue the world if you don’t have information. Go, John, go!

The great John in the sky


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If you feel like trying an amazing actionRPG, try Bastion by Supergiant Games.

It won several awards this year, and with reason. Multiple reasons actually.

  1. Fabulous artwork.

    Wow, just wow!

  2. Great voice-overs. You don’t hear the Kid talking, but the story teller. He has this voice that melts a women like sugar. Sean Connery style but even better. And don’t forget the sarcasm! If you make a stupid fall off of a ledge, you’ll hear about it. The comments from the storyteller made me smile, giggle, laugh out loud and sometimes they even touched my heart for real.
  3. Game play. Seriously. Try it. The world around you gets made up as you go (you’ll see what I mean) and it’s full of variety. You can customize your favorite weapons and you’ll always have two of them. Special action moves are powerful, but limited in times of use. Same with healing potions: they can be scarce. It’s such an innovating and challenging game.

Those are just three reasons, but I bet you can come up with even more. Go look at the website or buy it on steam (really, it’s not expensive!) and try it! I promise, you won’t regret it.

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True, so true!

Inspiration Files

These days, nerds are everywhere. Twitter profiles proclaiming oneself as a nerd abound. Ironic nerd eyeglasses have been popularized by celebrities and adopted by the masses. There’s even a nerd dating website, and I swear at least one of your colleagues is on it. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Nerd candy made a comeback. Blue tongues for everyone!

No longer confined to dusty basement computer labs and all-night LAN parties, one would imagine that the great 21st century nerd outage would result in all of us getting a little smarter when it comes to all things techy. Right? Wrong. Here are 10 things I’ve learned from having my very own live-in nerd. These may sound basic, but they’ve eliminated 90% of my tech problems over the past seven years.

  1. When there’s an update, do it. It sounds silly, but I used to think that those little updates…

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I’m lost!

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Help! I’m getting lost here. It’s time to decide what research method I’ll use and I’m more than confused.

There’s narrative research, which I think is the broad category. But then there’s also rhetorical research based on Burke and discourse analysis by J.P. Gee. What is what? How the hell am I going to use it for gaming research? It’s all so CONFUSING! So if anyone can explain me these things in plain English: be my guest.

Pfff. Do I really have to write this thesis? Can’t I just game for hours and get good grades for it?

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Why do you game?

I get that question on almost a daily basis… Ranging from out of friendly curiosity to complete hostility.

I’m a 23 year old girl in higher education that likes to go out to party and enjoys cooking for her friends. I guess I’m too far away from the cliche. People don’t see me as a gamer or a geek and are sometimes ‘shocked’ to find out I was addicted to World of Warcraft for two years. I just managed somehow to combine it with my normal life. How the hell did I do that anyway? Six raids a week, all preparations for that, two of them I was raidleading myself and I still found time for my friends and parties. No wonder my results in school dropped a bit.

Back to the point. I game cause it’s my passion. Just like I love books and movies, but then again: I love games even more than those stories. I love what James Paul Gee calls ’embodied experience’. When I’m gaming, I’m not reading or watching a story. I’m in the story. I’m playing the story. I’m co-creating the story. You could even go as far as saying that I’m living it, especially in a massive multiplayer world. No other medium has been able to give me that experience. Not even real life. I can’t shoot a bow straight for real, not even if my survival depended on it. I can’t do magics and I can’t ‘respawn’ when I die. Gaming gives me endless possibilities to do the things I dream of and even the things I didn’t know I was dreaming of. I can be a rogue, a hunter, a magician or even a strong, sturdy melee fighter in a fantasy world. I can be a technological girl-wonder in the future. I can be anything that the real world won’t allow cause of well… reality. Damn you, gravity!

Don’t get me wrong, I value real life still over gaming. I think that’s the borderline of things going ‘wrong’. That’s when gamers can become addicts, when they start valuing the game over their real life. There’s nothing wrong with escaping every once in a while. Life isn’t always peachy. But you still have to want to live it. Cause when the game becomes more important than the real thing, what’s the point?

Another thing I love about games, that makes me drool with passion, is how a good game is designed. My education made me think more about my own gaming experiences and the learning in it. It’s fascinating how many actually good learning experiences can be built into a game. And most of the time we don’t even notice that we’re learning! That’s completely different from yawning in a schoolbench for a day and trying to cram in the facts at night. Every game has rules, you have to learn those. Not by reading the booklet. But by playing. Tutorials that gradually build you to higher skills. New ways of problem solving that get introduced. The space to be creative with your character and it’s problems. Even completely new ways of thinking and looking at the (virtual) world. You learn to play the game by playing it, there is no other way. Your own experience will lead you to new discoveries. Some people don’t see the value in this for education. Because ‘you only learn the game and nothing useful’. But look at serious games, those have ‘useful’ learning built into them. And since when are skills like problem solving, tactical insight, learning to work together or even becoming a successful leader not useful anymore?

We don’t live in a modern society anymore. We live in a postmodern learning society, where knowledge is more than remembering facts from school. Why wouldn’t gaming fit into that?

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Baby steps

When I was about 5 or 6, me and my big bro took our first steps into the gaming world. Our aunt got us a GameBoy(against my parents will, of course) with these 3 games:

My first games <3

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you we were psyched… Our own gameboy, with Tetris AND Wario? Woooooow! But… what’s that? The Legend of Zelda? Never heard of it.  Who’s Zelda anyway?
That would soon change though. It wouldn’t be long before my brother was crying cause I accidentally deleted his saved game. Two years later, we finally finished it. Two kids, 8 and 10, that never got taught English, except by the TV and Magic the Gathering, and yet we did it. I remember it now as a big feat of strength. Working together on solutions for big problems. Figuring out what weapon was needed where. Me being scared from the Link-eating-flowers near the third (?) dungeon. Going to my aunt every weekend so she could help us think of new solutions and strategies Stalking the toy store whenever we got stuck. Fighting the final boss fight over and over and over, till we finally killed the ****.

Those were the days. Determination. Learning the rules of the game. Not knowing what the story was about (some guy woke up and there was a castle… and a lot of monsters!) till we discovered the internet 7  years later. Coöperating with my brother and my aunt, to accumulate our knowledge and strategies. We even picked up quite a few words of English: feather, sword, shield, bracelet, …

Good times! And then people dare say gaming is a waste of time? I think not!

Funny fact: We’re 15 years later and I started 4 or 5 other Zelda games after that. Yet I never managed to finish one again.

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Test test.. is this thing on?


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