Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Why do I own this?"-- World Driver Championship

We all have at least one...that one game you don't remember asking for. Maybe you don't even remember receiving it. All that matters is that you don't like it, you don't play it, and you don't even understand why you have it in the first place.

The odd one out in my collection.
Case in point: My copy of World Driver Championship for the Nintendo 64. I see this cartridge in my N64 storage case and ask myself: "Where did this even come from?" Did someone buy this for me as a gift or just leave this in my room to spite me? I like racing games just as much as the next person who says they like racing games but I'm more partial to karts with colorful tracks and crazy power ups...This is just another realistic arcade racer made to cash in on the popularity surrounding similar titles during the late nineties.

There is no way on Earth I asked for this game. I can count the number of time I played it not on one hand but just a few fingers.

I would go into detail and tell you what the game is about but it’s exactly what’s on the tin. You choose a car, you race around a track. Rinse and repeat until you win The “World Driver Championship.” If there’s anything more to it, I don’t know about it.

Now I must be honest and admit that the graphics were actually quite good for a N64 title and the music wasn't that bad either. Too bad controlling your car was like trying to drive across an oil slick blindfolded with a steering wheel made by Fisher Price.

Don't believe me? Check out this video.

They aren't hamming up it for laughs. The controls are really that unstable.

So why do I still have it if it's obviously doing nothing but taking up space? I can't willingly put this game back into circulation by trying to sell it, no one in their right mind should accept it as a gift and it feels to wasteful to just throw it away. I'm just taking one for the team, I suppose. Saving lives, one frustrating game at a time.

Is there game in your collection that makes you go "Why do I own this?"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fashionable Side--Favorite Accessories

So I’ve given you a taste of my favorite clothes, but I must admit that I feel naked without my accessories. A girl with no accessories is like a cake with no frosting: good, but painfully missing the added charm of roses made of buttercream...And bonus: No matter how many times you wear a certain piece, you can always throw on a different pair of earrings or necklace to give it a brand new feel. 

Here are just a few of my favorite finishing touches. 


The perfect example of an “outfit making piece”, a simple string of these white beads can easily add class to even the most simple combo. Throw on a bracelet with a t-shirt and jeans. Layer a necklace under a collared shirt. It’s the fastest way to look like you’ve spent a good chunk of time designing a look, even when you just rolled out of bed after your last alarm.


There is something so enchanting about the classic look of a cameo piece. The subtle contrast of color and depth; the grace and poise of a silhouette frozen in time...Please, excuse my poetics but this style has inspired a small obsession of mine...

Fashion Scarves and Neckties
...while these are a very large obsession of mine, at least as far as my collection of scarves is concerned (18 in total!). I just love neckwear and sometimes a simple piece of jewelry is not enough. Scarves are a relatively cheap and easy way to add a bit of flare to your everyday wardrobe, like a more casual alternative to pearls. Yes, they're infinitely cozy when made of wool, but why limit scarves to the coldest days of the fall and winter seasons? 

And why should ties be a "men’s only" accessory? If you don’t know let me be the first to tell you: women look great in men’s wear. It doesn’t even have to be a grand affair; a button up and jeans would do nicely. I only have "good" two ties at the moment because it’s worth it to be a bit more picky when shopping for them. You can always find a decent one for cheap, just make sure that you don’t overlook the level of quality when tempted by a good deal. 

(PRO TIP: If you’re gonna wear a tie, you might as well go all the way. Look up the instructions for some of the more complicated knots, like the Windsor. Believe me, there’s no better feeling than a man doing a double take because you can tie a knot better than he can.)

Do you share some of my obsessions? What are some of your favorite accessories?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Etsy Wish List #6

In my humble opinion, it's the accessories--not the clothes--that make the woman. What better way to dress up your favorite outfit than to add one of these video game themed pieces?

I must admit that my experience with classic the games of the 8 and 16 bit eras is pretty limited. That doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the simplistic beauty of these wood earrings. Something small this takes an amazing attention to detail. 

I don't think there's anyone alive who hasn't played at least one game of Tetris. It's terribly addictive in the most frustrating way and the game's basic strategies even can be applied to real life. Have you ever over packed a suitcase or car, so much so that there was absolutely no extra space left? You just might have Tetris to thank for that skill.

These particular earrings are also available in green "Z", yellow "O", and blue "L" block shapes, so you can pick your favorite color or game piece. Or you could just get them all if you consider yourself a super-fan and want one for every occasion. I won't judge.

You ask yourself: "Video games and cameo jewelry?" I can feel your uncertainty. It's unexpected. It's quirky. And it works. The best accessory is one that make someone do a double take and this necklace demands one. If only the picture was in black and white or maybe even a sepia tone...that would really make this necklace perfect.

So any of these pieces of jewelry catch your eye?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nintendo is Afraid of Dynamic Female Characters--Part One feat. Samus Aran

How many times have I started a rant with “I love Nintendo, but...”? My loyalty for the company runs deep; my annoyance at their treatment of female characters runs deeper. While others are slowly realizing that girls in video games are worth more than their breast size or ability to be kidnapped, Nintendo’s leading ladies are still singing that one, tired old song. 

Since I can go on forever with a topic like this, I’m going to split tangent this up into parts...starting with the more unexpected subject: the shortcomings of Samus Aran.

I know what you might be thinking: “What? Samus is so BA with her power suit and arm cannon...” And yes, no one can deny that the famous alien hunter has had some amazing adventures throughout her series. But we cannot overlook the fact that Samus’s gender was originally an afterthought. 

The most famous identity crisis in history.

Now I wasn’t even alive when the fateful meeting took place, but I’ve always imagined that it happened a little something like...

Nintendo main offices, late afternoon. Several Metroid team members are sitting around a conference table. There's a lull in the conversation. 
TEAM MEMBER #2: “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if there was a chick under the suit? 
(Awkward silence) 
TEAM LEADER: “Put her in a bathing suit at the end of the game and it just might work.”

Of course, this small change broke down a huge wall in the video game industry, showcasing the untapped potential in female protagonists. I’m not trying to belittle its influence. However, throwing in a short scene of a blond in a bikini and carefully crafting a multidimensional female lead character are two different totally things.

And since Samus’s first appearance, Nintendo has done nothing but prove that they have absolutely no clue what to do with her. 

She could be so much more than a chick in a suit.
In most games, Samus is a silent killing machine who leaves nothing but destruction and dead Metroid husks in her wake. A lone wolf with just enough background and characterization to justify her actions. Since she spends the majority of each game encased in metal, it sometimes seems like Nintendo is trying to hide her femininity behind her shiny armor. But the status quo set in the original title is always maintained: play well enough and you’ll get to see what she’s got under that suit. At it’s core, Samus’s femininity is a reward, not a defining character trait. Her body is nothing more than an object used to extend gameplay.

Whenever Samus is playable sans suit, her outstanding physical prowess is completely overshadowed by her outfit. The Zero Suit--though more practical than a bikini/leotard--leaves nothing to the imagination. And don’t even get me started on that whip...

It’s as if Nintendo isn’t sure whether to push Samus’s gender under the rug or beat players over the head with it. 
Yep. Definitely a woman.
And then there's Other M. This title isn't just a weak installment gameplay wise, it completely undermines what little character development the bounty hunter has. She has all of the most powerful weapons available from the jump, but she can only use them when someone tells her to. She’s already triumphed over Ridley at this point, but she is paralyzed by childhood flashbacks when she sees him again. She’s seen developing relationships with several other characters for once in her life, but she plays supporting role to all of them, forcing them to save her when she should be saving them.

Here, the lone wolf is put on a very short leash.

"Permission to think, sir?"
It’s clear that with Other M, the developers were trying to present a version of Samus that’s more “human”, more relatable. What better way than to put a few chips in her seemingly invincible facade? Even the most powerful have to fail sometimes... he team just spent so much time trying to prove that she could be vulnerable, they overlooked the need to equally develop her strengths. This would have been the perfect time for Samus to overcome debilitating fear through the power of her resolve, to maintain her independence when dealing with the authority figures of her past. Instead, she is simply presented as a stubborn, immature cadet who never quite grew up. Once unstoppable, Other M Samus only seems to take the role of hero when given a little push.

If that is all that Samus is going to be, she just keep quiet and stay in the suit. 


The numerous flaws in Nintendo’s favorite princesses Peach and Zelda seem a bit more obvious. They’re just stereotypical damsel-in-distress right? Well, next time I’ll explore how these two characters fall into the same patterns as the lonely Metroid hunter (with Zelda being the more tortured of the two).

For more on Nintendo and women:
"For Girls Only"--Nintendo Invites Females to the World of Video Games
"Play As You Are"--Nintendo and the Female Audience Part 2
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