I Won’t Become A Number in the System | Exploring the Ending in Supergiant’s Transistor

I don’t usually write two deep analysis posts in a row, but I’m making an exception. Last week, as I was preparing for my blog post about Bastion and how it creates weighty, impactful choices for its players, I realized something similar about another game from Supergiant, Transistor.

Transistor was the first Supergiant Games title that I played, and I had no idea what I was getting into. I fell in love with its art, music, and mechanics that were unlike anything else I had ever played before. It was what opened the door for me to try Bastion and, later on, Hades.

Like Bastion, Transistor is also about decisions. However, it is not about how or why we choose one thing over another, but instead one’s right to make decisions at all.

As with my previous post, there are big spoilers for the end of Transistor up ahead. I’ll also be referencing some of the endgame elements from Bastion that I used last time, so beware of that as well. As usual, I highly recommend these games and encourage you to play them before coming back, but I’ll explain enough background that you can read this without playing too.

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I’ll See You In The Next One | How Supergiant’s Bastion Creates Choices With Narrative Impact

Video games are driven by decisions. The primary thing that sets video games apart from film or literature is the level of interaction involved, and that interaction comes through making decisions.

These days, there are entire genres of video games dedicated to decision-making, like visual novels. Apart from that, making choices is still a core part of narrative-driven games in other genres.

Bastion

Bastion, the first game developed by Supergiant Games in 2011, is a typical action RPG on the surface. Beneath that, however, is a well-written story that culminates in two very charged decisions at the end of the game. The final scenes of Bastion have stuck with me since I finished the game a few months ago, and today, I’m going to take a closer look at what makes the game’s conclusion work so well.

Since I’m discussing the end of the game, spoilers for Bastion are below! I highly recommend playing the game for yourself first, but if you already have or just aren’t really a gamer, click to read on.

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How to Make Me Read Your Book | 6 Story Tropes I Live For

Let’s saw we go to an ice cream parlor. My treat. I order my sundae, which is chocolate ice cream with peanut butter sauce, cookie dough chunks, whipped topping and rainbow sprinkles (no cherry). You open your mouth to order yours, but I cut you off and say, “We’ll both have the same thing.”

“But Maggie,” you protest. “I don’t like chocolate ice cream. And I’m allergic to peanuts! I’d much rather have vanilla ice cream with fudge and oreos on top!”

“Well, you’re wrong. My sundae is the best kind of sundae, so you’ll just have to learn to like it,” I say.

Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Aside from the fact that my sundae would probably lead to me having a heart attack someday soon, it’s not gross or detestable. Neither is yours. Neither sundae is right or wrong, we just have different tastes in ice cream and its toppings, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes though, I think we get a certain idea about stories – we think that they have to be a certain way, and anything that doesn’t fit that mold is morally reprehensible. Granted, there are a few things that any story should have: your characters should be well-rounded and the plot should be coherent. Just as you wouldn’t put pickles on your strawberry ice cream, you wouldn’t write a story without those important elements.

But from there, who’s to say what the rules are? All audiences have different tastes when it comes to character and story tropes, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which ones work and hoping that the right person finds your story.

I try to keep an open mind when it comes to stories, but if I’m being honest, there are a few tropes that just get me, you know? Like, if I see one of those tropes in a story, and it’s being done well, it’s safe to say I’m hooked. I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorites today – maybe you’ll agree, maybe you’ll disagree, but hey, that’s the fun of it!

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Time After Time (Short Story)

Back in October 2018, I entered a short story contest held for the Blimey Cow patron community (or “cowmoonity,” as we call it). Our prompt was to write a story with the following elements:

  • Theme: “Things are not as they seem”
  • Music should be featured prominently
  • Including one of the following: a broken television, a cobweb, or a cassette.

So I decided to enter the contest, and ended up winning three of the five categories (Best story, best character, and best overall). To be honest, I was totally surprised and honored to be one of the finalists (let alone a winner)!

Since then, the story was accepted for publication in my school’s literary journal, The Peregrine Review. Since I spend most of my time working on larger writing projects, I’ve become rather proud of this little story and how far it’s come. Since I mentioned it a few times recently, I thought today would be a good time to share it!

Read on to check out my short story, “Time After Time.”

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My Top 5 TV Shows

I was never one to watch a lot of TV. Even as a kid, I didn’t watch a lot of cartoons or other shows that most people of my generation remember fondly (it probably didn’t help that my family didn’t have cable television). The same held true for me as I got older, but in high school, I realized that TV shows weren’t just random cartoons and evening sitcoms. They could be just as interesting as the books I loved, just in a different way. Pretty soon, I found myself with a Netflix account, checking out a whole new world of storytelling.

This week, I want to share some of my favorite TV shows. There are many that I love, but these five are the ones that I find myself re-watching time and time again, and they’ve never stopped being interesting to me.

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Beautiful People #27 – August 2017

Another month, another edition of Beautiful People! For those who don’t know, BP is a monthly blog linkup hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up & Further In. Each month, they share a list of ten questions for writers to think about for one of their characters, and then the writers share their answers on their blog! It’s a great way for fellow writers to connect with each other, so for more information, click here.

The last time I did BP was back in June, when I introduced my character Myrina from a new fantasy-based project that I’m working on and planning to draft for NaNoWriMo this November. The plot details are still a little iffy, but I’m really excited for the story.

This month, I’d like to introduce another main character from that story, one that comes from a much different background than Myrina. This character is Adrien Bryton, the crown prince of Reystrell, which is another one of the nations in my world. He’s younger than Myrina by a few years, and under normal circumstances, it’s unlikely that the two of them would ever meet. However, Myrina protects Adrien from an attack on the palace during one of her diplomatic missions to Reystrell, and when it’s discovered that the prince’s life is in danger, it falls to Myrina to protect him while he’s a fugitive.

That pretty much covers everything you need to know about Adrien to start, so read on to learn more about him!

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Beautiful People #24 – May 2017

Welcome back to another edition of the Beautiful People linkup! For those who don’t know, BP is a monthly blog linkup hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up & Further In. Each month, they share a list of ten questions for writers to think about for one of their characters, and then the writers share their answers on their blog! It’s a great way for fellow writers to connect with each other, so for more information, click here.

If you’d like to go back and read (or re-read) some of my past BP posts, you can do so with the links below.

BP #17 – May 2016 (Riley Taylor)
BP #18 – June 2016 (Leslie Summers)
BP #20 – August 2016 (Chey Cooper)
BP #21 – September 2016 (Trevor Johnson)
BP #22 – February 2017 (Leslie Summers and Riley Taylor)
BP #23 – March 2017 (Eden Hunter)

This month is a “parental edition” of BP, so all of the questions focus on the character’s parent(s) and their relationship with their parent(s). I chose to do my character Riley Taylor once again, mostly because I haven’t really talked about his parents before and the story there, so I thought this would be a nice new look at his character. Without further ado, onto the questions!

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Summertime Chapter 1

Hey everyone! As I briefly mentioned in my Best of June post, I’m on a missions trip this week! Since I wasn’t around to write a long formal blog post this week, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of my personal writing with you guys.

I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve been working on a novella titled Summertime. In the Beautiful People posts I’ve done the last two months, I introduced you to the two main characters, Riley and Leslie. What I’m sharing now is the first chapter in the story, which has been through numerous rounds of editing.

I… Don’t really have much else to say about it, so without further ado, here’s chapter one!

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