I started playing tabletop Dungeons & Dragons (using 3.5 edition rules) for the first time about two months ago. I had a lot of fun from my first session onwards, and I could instantly understand why the tabletop game has remained so popular all over the world. All because of the vision and creativity of its creator, Gary Gygax. I stumbled upon this Wired article about Gygax and thought I’d share it here for posterity.
Side note: I almost recoiled in horror when Gygax stated that The Lord of the Rings was too boring with very little action. All the action happens in Volume Three at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
My friend works at a Community Centre in Singapore where they are currently doing vaccinations for Covid-19. These are some of his horror stories about how entitled some Singaporeans can be:
People not arriving punctually at their allocated time slots. Some several hours early, some several hours late.
People insisting on choosing which vaccine type they want, like they are shopping at a supermarket for groceries.
People lurking outside the vaccination centre in the hope of obtaining some freebies (some centres give out free stuff such as masks and hand sanitiser).
Youngsters (those around 18-years-old) whose parents insist on accompanying them all the way through every stage of the vaccination.
The last point really sticks out for me: why are so many people, our youth especially, so afraid of having a needle inserted into their body?
Maybe it’s because as a primary and secondary school kid back in the 1990s, we had to go through vaccinations for BCG. Twice. Yes it was painful for a short while, but after that we all went back to class and life resumed as normal. We had no parents to accompany us, we were used to it.
Or maybe it’s because I had been taking my annual flu shots since the early 2010s. I go in alone, wait patiently for my turn, get stabbed with a needle, get a plaster, and that’s it. All done. In and out quickly with no fuss.
Or maybe I’m used to acupuncture. But an acupuncture session lasts about one hour with MULTIPLE needles inserted at once; a vaccine needle is inserted into your arm for just two to three short seconds.
Only in Singapore will you see the worst of humanity being brought out at a vaccination centre of all places.
If you have someone who wants to do that job, let them! What’s on their head has nothing to do with it!
– John Oliver
I was once discriminated at by a female co-worker at a part-time job, all because I was wearing a headband. I was trying to grow out long hair for fun, so I decided to wear a headband to keep my long fringe neat and in place. John Oliver sums it up perfectly: the stuff on my head, and its length, has zero influence on my ability to perform my job.
It boggles my mind that in the 21st century, we are still judging people superficially based on their looks, and condemning them when they don’t meet our supposed “physical expectations”.
I strongly believe in the concept of “what goes around, comes around.” Life has an interesting way of coming full circle, to remind you and reward you for the decisions and hardships you’ve made.
About one year ago, I attempted to +10 Legendary Edelgard in Fire Emblem: Heroes with over 2,200+ orbs, but failed at +9, so close to crossing the final hurdle. I was completely heartbroken. In May 2021, it was now Hegemon Edelgard’s turn. I attempted to +10 her with 1,606 orbs, and succeeded in using just 1,414.
I was ecstatic, as you can see from the Twitch clip above. But it wasn’t easy. At the very beginning, when my sparked copy appeared first before I could even obtain her from a normal 5* focus pull, I thought I was going to fail. But I pressed on, telling myself to do my best no matter what. Relying purely on my passion and love for this character alone (plus the support of all the awesome random strangers in stream chat — thanks guys, it means a lot), I kept going and going… and I finally succeeded.
I totally ignored the release of Resident Evil Village for the sake of my favourite videogame character. Sometimes I wonder why I play videogames so seriously.
I got incredibly angry and upset again over a fighting game. Frustrated, I poured my heart out on Facebook, and went to do some deep soul-searching. I resolved to press on and continue playing this game, but not before fixing a fundamental flaw with the mindset of playing to win.
No disrespect to Dave Sirlin and his most famous work, but if you play to win, you are destined for misery. You will always experience saltiness, you will get pissed off. Roger Federer, in his prime, still lost tennis matches. So did Garry Kasparov in chess; and Arsenal when they went on their “Invincibles” run back in 2004. No one is undefeatable or infallible, losing will inevitably come around sooner or later.
So I created the following code, a simple creed to remind myself that there is more to playing competitive fighting games besides playing to win.
Playing to win is a lie, there is only Passion Through Passion, I gain Knowledge Through Knowledge, I gain Power Through Power, I gain Success Through Success, my chains of struggle are broken My Passion shall free me
If you’re a Star Wars fan, then yes this code should sound very familiar. It was inspired by the Code of the Sith, which is an inversion of the Jedi Code. I always found the Code of the Sith very fascinating because it shows us the other side of the coin — how a complete opposite set of teachings can still be used as a driving force for an entire philosophical way of life:
Peace is a lie, there is only Passion Through Passion, I gain Strength Through Strength, I gain Power Through Power, I gain Victory Through Victory, my chains are broken The Force shall free me
Passion should always be your ultimate motivator. Not something fleeting and temporary like “winning”. Because even in defeat, when you are at your lowest after a crushing loss, passion about what you do, what you enjoy, is what drives you to pick yourself back up.
YouTube’s recommended algorithm is doing its work again, and this time I stumbled upon another documentary video. This was both interesting and very heartbreaking to watch. By the time the video crossed into the 30 min+ mark, it became very clear that the patient wasn’t going make any recovery.
The first official teaser trailer for Melty Blood: Type Lumina is out. It’s a short teaser showing the first video footage of a highly anticipated fighting game. What should have been a cause for celebration, quickly turned into cynicism in the Melty Blood Discord chat.
“The sprite animations don’t look smooth.”
“As I suspected, the game looks rushed.”
“French Bread might not have the time and money to do a proper job.”
“Where the fuck are Ciel’s tattoos??!”
I remember the very first time I started playing Melty Blood: Actress Again ten years ago. I was awed by the game’s system mechanics, which rewarded players for putting in the effort into learning them. I loved the movement options and momentum-heavy gameplay. Every time I fought against a new and unfamiliar opposing character in the arcades, I would greet the challenge with curiosity and wonder.
This is what Melty Blood means to me — it has given me hundreds of hours of fun, joy, challenge, and wonder. Isn’t that what videogames are all about? Especially during these pandemic times, where games are one of the few ways to help us pass the time in isolation.
I see the above-mentioned responses and I keep thinking to myself: why do these people even play videogames, if all they are going to do is respond with cynicism and negativity? That was exactly what happened in the Discord channel thereafter — it quickly went downhill into a spiral of negativity and doom.
It’s okay to be sceptical and wary of new and unfamiliar things, that’s our nature as human beings. But this is just a teaser trailer that is barely one minute long! And yet we are already jumping to conclusions and passing judgment. This is one of the reasons why I stopped watching game trailers and movie trailers years ago. You can’t judge a piece of work based on its preview trailer, just like you can’t judge a book by its cover.
When Resident Evil Village was formally announced during a PlayStation event, I closed my eyes and muted the audio from the trailer. When the games press began writing previews a few months later, I avoided all of it. I refused to read any of them because I wanted to keep my experience fresh and blind. However, I made an exception for Lumina because it’s Melty Blood! And also because I needed to update our MB Facebook page with the latest information.
No matter what game Lumina eventually becomes, I will still play it. I will support it with all my heart and embrace it for all of its flaws. Because this is what it means to love something — you accept it for what it is; you compromise.
This is a spoiler-free blog post about Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
The original Justice League that we saw in theatres was an absolute mess, lacking in cohesion, tension, and tone. Basically it was a complete cinematic failure due to a combination of studio meddling from Warner Bros, and a difference in direction from Josh Whedon, who was brought in to replace Zack Snyder. Snyder left the project halfway due to a family tragedy.
I remember watching the original film in the theatre and thinking to myself: “What the hell??” The Justice League, the freaking Justice League, who at one point in pop culture were more popular than the Avengers — this was the best live action movie that WB could come up with? It felt quite disgraceful. Marvel and Disney were changing the way comic book movies were being made, and this was WB’s best response: a garbage film with zero merit or redeemable qualities.
So when I read the news awhile back that there was going to be a “Snyder Cut” of Justice League, a re-edited version of the film that was closer to Snyder’s original vision, I was intrigued. It is very well known that the original Star Wars: A New Hope was saved by a last-minute edit that made it into a better film. Could a crap movie be edited to become a better one? Yes, it’s possible.
At the same time, I was very cautious. This is ZACK SNYDER, the same person who wrote and directed Sucker Punch, one of the worst films I’ve ever seen (if you think it’s a good film, I’ll drag you straight down to hell and fight you to the death). I was willing to give Snyder’s version of Justice League a second chance — but only one chance.
Within the first five minutes of the Snyder Cut, I already knew that I was in for something different. The opening was completely different, the tone was changed. I use the word “tone” to describe movies a lot, because it is a very important film concept. Tone sets the mood for the story that is about to unfold, giving the audience a hint at what to expect. This was going to be a darker, more violent edit, and my hunch was right when I began to see decapitations, dismemberments, and blood. The Snyder Cut is not for kids, and I’m happy that it turned out this way — not all comic book films have to be bright and optimistic like Shazam!
I finished the entire Snyder Cut in one sitting and it holds up if viewed that way. The pacing is perfect, it takes its time to build up a slow-burn of rising tension and character development (things that are severely lacking in a lot of modern movies these days). But I concede that not every viewer has the stamina to watch a four-hour film, and Snyder acknowledges this fact by splitting his film into six different parts. The transitions between each part is handled well, they don’t break the flow of the story, and are meant to be rest points for viewers to pause and take a break if they wish.
Fans of the DC universe should be able to spot and recognise many of the themes, characters, and foreshadowing shown in the Snyder Cut. I confess that I’m not really a DC fan, nor an expert in their comic books. However, I am familiar with most of the concepts and common story beats of the DC lore — to see them finally brought to life on the big screen just made my geeky side really happy. Snyder clearly loves comic books (look at his 300 film adaptation), he respects the medium, and he is a great visual director in adapting comics into movies.
The Snyder Cut just reiterates how flawed modern-day Hollywood movie studios are. What the heck do corporate executives and fat cats know about making movies? Let the creative people do their thing, don’t get in the way, and who knows. You might get something special worth celebrating about.
I’m trying to practice for my violin exams but every time I come home, I’m exhausted from work. I could force myself to play, but it won’t be efficient practice.
I’m also trying to play more Melty to get back into fighting shape, but I barely have 30-45 mins to play each night, before I have to go to sleep. Or practice violin first, then sleep. The one time where I have a lot of time to play Melty — Friday nights — I can’t find anyone to play with. It’s absolutely frustrating.
Honestly, there are times where I feel like giving up. Tonight is one of those nights where I want to give up, to wave the white flag in the face of adversity.
Ironically, my previous blog post now feels like a curse that has come back to haunt me. No one knows how hard it is to learn violin. And to play Melty at the same time.
I’m not afraid to be alone. But alone, I feel like giving up.
Playing videogames and reading about videogames consumes most of my free time. I try to play everything except for rhythm games. Also enjoys sports, animation, comics, Japanese language studies, and the occasional American TV drama. Learning violin.