March 2019 Month in Review

March 2019 Month In Review

Happy April, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the transition between seasons like I am – we finally started getting some warm weather here in the past few weeks, which is a relief after such a long winter.

I’ll tell you a little more about my month in a moment, but first, here’s what I blogged about this month in case you missed anything!

I’m still keeping up with my 1 Second Everyday project as well – here’s March’s compilation!

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Character figurine with duct tape over his mouth and the text "Don't give up on silent protagonists"

Don’t Give Up On Silent Protagonists

Technology is amazing, right? In early video games, we were lucky if we got a few strings of text to move the plot forward. Today, we’re presented with cutscenes that play like short films, complete with voice acting and animation. This growth has been great for gaming, but the increased use of voice acting has often left one of my favorite tropes in the dust: the silent protagonist.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a silent protagonist is a video game character does not have dialogue. They may interact with other characters through facial expressions, gestures, or “assumed” speech (in other words, there’s a pause in which the protagonist is assumed to have spoken, but they’re not given explicit dialogue). Silent Protagonists are most often seen as player characters. A few examples would be Link from The Legend of Zelda, the player character in the Pokémon series, or Chell from Portal.

As voice acting becomes more common in video games, the silent protagonist is less common. After all, it would seem weird to have everyone else talking except for one individual character!

But I still think there’s a place for the silent protagonists in our video games, if for no other reason than the way they provide a playing experience that other types of protagonists cannot.

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Nintendo Switch with text "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC"

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC

If you follow video games at all, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – released barely over two months ago – has become Nintendo’s fastest selling game. The multiplayer fighting game is a hit with hardcore and casual players alike, with its colorful selection of stages, items, and characters setting it apart from the crowd.

Since the original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, the character roster has grown from twelve to over seventy different options. Of course, we’re still waiting on the new DLC (“downloadable content”) characters. Nintendo announced that Joker from Persona 5 will be joining the roster in February, but the other newcomers remain a mystery.

I understand the speculation train has long since left the station, and everyone and their cousin has put out a video or article about who they want to see in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I’m going to do my own anyway. After much deliberation, I’ve compiled a list of five characters I think would be good fits for the SSBU stage – not necessarily ones I think are likely to make it there, but if I were in charge, I’d pick them.

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January 2019 - Month in Review

January 2019 Month in Review

Congratulations on making it through the first month of the year! I don’t know about you, but January seemed to go by fast for me… which I can’t say I’m feeling too upset about, since it’s been bitter cold here in Pennsylvania for most of the month. Despite the below-freezing temperatures though, I had a great month!

Before I share all of that though, here’s what I blogged about this month in case you missed it:

  • What I want to accomplish in 2019 (and what I did in 2018)
  • Cleaning a bunch of books off of my to-be-read list (in two parts!)
  • What we can learn about writing from Avatar: The Last Airbender

By the way, I’m also back to doing my 1 Second Everyday videos! You can watch January’s compilation below:

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2018: Year In Review

2018: Year In Review

Before I start, I think we should all just give ourselves a pat on the back for making it to the end of the year. Whether 2018 was the best year or the worst year of your life, finishing another calendar year is really something to be proud of.

As I do every year, I’m wrapping up 2018 with a look back at my favorite music, books, video games, blog posts, and other moments that made the year special. I do my best to keep it brief, but let’s face it… there’s a lot of great things to be thankful for.

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7 Reasons Why I'm a Fake Gamer

7 Reasons Why I’m A Fake Gamer

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve shared my thoughts on how exclusive geek and gamer culture can be. If you missed everything I’ve said about it in the past, here’s quick summary: I think it’s stupid. Why should we be allowed to set such arbitrary rules about who is and isn’t allowed to enjoy a specific hobby? We’re only hurting ourselves.

Anyway, in the process of writing those many, many blog posts, I had a realization: if the right (or wrong) questions were asked, chances are, I’d be considered a “fake gamer.” Also known as: “Casual” or “noob.” This isn’t something that bothers me (if other people want to make hasty judgments, that’s on them), but I decided to compile a list anyway. You can think of it as my “gamer confessions” in a way, or just a list of reasons why the division between gamer and non-gamer is so ridiculously arbitrary.

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Month In Review: August 2018

It’s official – we’re in the fall months now! School had finally started back up for me, and things are starting to get busy in my life again – which explains why this post is going up a little later than usual. As always, thanks for being patient with me. It’s been a bit rough transitioning from the summer to the school year, but we’re getting there.

There was quite a bit happening this month, so if you’re interested in seeing a quick summary of what I did this month, check out my 1 Second Everyday video for August!

And in case you missed anything on Maggie’s Musings this month, I blogged about:

As a whole, August was a pretty crazy month with a lot of transitions. That doesn’t mean it was bad – on the contrary, I got to do a lot of exciting stuff this month in-between the busyness.

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What Makes Someone a Gamer?

About a week ago, my friend Kiara posted this on Twitter, and it got me thinking:

 

Like with almost any label someone can apply to themselves (baker, photographer, reader, etc.), there seems to be some set of criteria for calling yourself a gamer, but no one knows what it is. What separates a gamer from a non-gamer? What’s on that mythical list of requirements? Today, I’d like to answer that question and finally put an end to these discussions.

Before I dive into that though, I want to give a shoutout to the wonderful people in the Geeks Under Grace community! I posed this same question in their Facebook group, and while these thoughts in my post are mine alone, discussing this topic with them helped me process some of my own ideas.

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What’s Wrong With Walkthroughs?

Let’s say you’re planning a road trip across the country. You get your maps out (or use the internet) and follow the highways, looking for cities and other places to stop along the way. Before long, you’ve got the whole route planned out, down to every motel or Airbnb you’ll be staying in.

Does this make the trip any less exciting? Most of us would probably say no. Planning ahead is the prudent thing to do – after all, you don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere with no place to eat or sleep. Having a GPS or map guide you doesn’t make the trip any less of an adventure.

Video game walkthroughs function similarly to a GPS, except instead of telling you which exit to take, they tell you how to defeat those strange new enemies, which block needs to be pushed to solve the puzzle, and where to find any hidden secret. In other words, they’re a map to guide you on your virtual adventure.

Following the road trip logic, using a walkthrough shouldn’t diminish the sense of adventure or excitement in playing the video game. Yet, for some reason, we gamers seem to think it does, and we look down on any one who would dare look up the solution to a puzzle on YouTube. We call them “casuals” and “fake gamers.”

But why? What makes their way of enjoying video games inferior to ours? What’s so wrong with using a walkthrough?

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Which Pokémon Go Team Are Your Favorite Characters On? (+Quiz!)

Two years ago, a little app overtook the world. This app was Pokémon Go, a mobile game based on the popular video game franchise that used GPS and augmented reality technology to bring the cartoon creatures to the real world.

People everywhere grabbed their smartphones and left to explore their towns and neighborhoods. Even today, the game still brings people together regularly. I’ve made some great friends at my school through the game, and there were dozens of people at a local park for the most recent Community Day.

In Pokémon Go there are three teams: Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct. Once players reach a certain level, they join one of these teams and then compete against the others.

The choice of team is arbitrary, but each one embodies a certain set of characteristics. Knowing this, it got me thinking – if fictional characters played Pokémon Go, what teams would they be on? I’ve decided to “sort” a handful of them and give a few reasons why. Plus, if you’ve always wanted to know what team you should be on, I have just the quiz for you!

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