Perspective — How Video Games Taught Me to Accept Failure

By Michael “Auronblade60” Williams | @Auronblade60 | 2:55 PM EST, Fri. July 19, 2019
Video games can be hard. 
Certain games like Dark Souls have almost built a legacy around being difficult and overcoming those challenges; However, in the case of most games, they are not built around failure. To fail in most video games is to die and simply respawn. It is a punishment which takes away more of the player’s time or loss of an item or experience. However, in a subsection of games, failure is a part of the process and not the end of the road.
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PRIDE: Tagging Your Allyship

(Photo Credit: Twitch)

By Bokchoi | @a_bokchoi6:50 PM EST, Sun. June 16, 2019
Happy Pride everyone!
For those who many not know how Pride Month came into existence, according to the Library of Congress, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposiums and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”
Pride is always an interesting month, but even more so with the rise of social media as it is a conduit for voices previously unheard (or only locally accessible) for worldwide broadcast. If you have an internet connection and a keyboard, congratulations, you’ve got yourself a platform.
Thanks to this, even the most nonsensical voices are amplified. Every year, without fail, we see cries for “Straight Pride.” This is ignorance at its finest. In a world where being cisgendered and heterosexual is considered the norm—the default—there is an insistence on having the entire pie to themselves, when there is plenty of pie to go around. It is insulting because Pride is a protest born out of violence, a plea and a stand to ensure our right to exist. Yes, it involves being proud of who we are, but it is also a remembrance of those who came before us to ensure we are persecuted a little less and a condemnation of the violence that pervades our culture when someone is different.
Pride is also unfortunately used as a cash grab. Companies who have never been particularly vocal about LGBTQIA+ rights adorn profile photos with rainbows and fill their platforms with commentary on inclusion. “We see you,” they say, all while toting merchandise that screams “Yas Qween!” and other generic LGBTQIA+-isms they lifted off of a quick Google search. Once it hits July 1st, all of the rainbows and solidarity just vanish because it is no longer profitable. “You’ve had your month,” they seem to say, and then everything is business as usual.
It makes sense though. After all, being an Ally is the new Black; it’s in, it gives you clout, and in a world of woke culture, clout is a highly coveted, social currency. Especially amongst Internet personalities such as Twitch streamers, “wokeness” gives you the ability to build an audience and increases your shot at being an influencer.
Let’s have a quick chat about being an Ally, and the possible performative aspect of it by discussing usage of the LGBTQIA+ tag on Twitch. If you aren’t part of the community, I don’t agree with using the tag.
I’ve seen people using it for “Allyship,” claiming that they’ve created a safe space and are using it to advertise as such.
This leads me to ask: How do you personally know it’s a safe space? If you don’t share that identity and those experiences, how can you claim that you have a safe space for a marginalized community? Marginalized folks know firsthand what needs to be done to keep themselves and those around them safe.They know how to fight for themselves through lived experience. What do you know about the oppression and the violence we face?
Allyship doesn’t equal identity. You can use your platform to help others, but that doesn’t make you LGBTQIA+.
I view tagging as a method for folks to find people just like them. To use the tag, but not share any aspect of those identities, it almost feels like queer-baiting or a way to broaden your audience through inauthentic means. Allies are defined by their actions. Adding a simple tag does not automatically make you an Ally.
You are not oppressed in the same way. Don’t make your Allyship about you. Support the voices that need to be heard. You don’t have to identify as one of us to be an Ally, (that’s the beauty of being an Ally) but to assume a position of being our spokesperson instead of amplifying our voices is centering yourself.
You don’t have to use tags to prove you’re an Ally. That’s just disingenuous and performative.
You may ask while throwing your hands up in exasperation, “So then how can we support the LGBTQIA+ community?” After all, whatever you do seems to be lambasted by the community or labeled as not good enough. Take this article for example; here I am, criticizing the use of something as innocuous as a Twitch tag. Well, this exasperation is mostly due to an assumption Allies like to make. Instead of asking the affected community how to best serve them, most Allies tend to take a stab at what will help, resulting in a lot of showboating and little-to-no actual forward progression. They say, “Hey, I did something!,” in the hopes of hitting that feel-good receptor in their brains. If this upsets you, you may want to reevaluate if you’re truly an Ally. Your feelings shouldn’t come before our rights.
Here’s one suggestion: Instead of using the tag, have panels that indicate that your stream is a LGBTQIA+ friendly place. Have visible rules and actively enforce them. If you notice revolting behavior, such as transphobia or homophobia, strike that hatred down with an intensity as if you were wielding Thor’s Hammer Mjölnir. Boost our voices with your platform, but don’t make it about you.
As for other methods? Ask your LGBTQIA+ friends and family how to better serve them… and not just this month, but all year round.
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A_Bokchoi is a jack-of-all-trades artist and content creator based in New York City. When she’s not daydreaming during her 9-to-5, she navigates the waters of adulthood as a Queer Korean-American and focusing on what it means to carry two cultures on her back (while also engaging in weebery and spitting out terrible puns). You can find her streaming at twitch.tv/a_bokchoi.

RECIPES — Meal Prepping: White Chicken Chili, Chicken Fried Rice, Sweet Chili Glazed Turkey Meatballs, and Salmon and Veggies

By NikkiGames11 | @NikkiGames11 | 5:15 PM EST, Mon., April 22, 2019

Cooking: Some love it, some hate it.
Personally, I adore being in the kitchen and creating new meals to enjoy. I’ve been on a health kick lately and have taken up meal prepping as well.
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REVIEW — "The Promised Neverland" Gives Perfect Anime Experience

By King Ether | @_kingether | 5:30 PM EST, Tues., April 9, 2019

“Surrounded by a forest and a gated entrance, the Grace Field House is inhabited by orphans happily living together as one big family, looked after by their “Mama,” Isabella. Although they are required to take tests daily, the children are free to spend their time as they see fit, usually playing outside, as long as they do not venture too far from the orphanage—a rule they are expected to follow no matter what. However, all good times must come to an end, as every few months, a child is adopted and sent to live with their new family… never to be heard from again. However, the three oldest siblings have their suspicions about what is actually happening at the orphanage, and they are about to discover the cruel fate that awaits the children living at Grace Field, including the twisted nature of their beloved Mama.” –Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland) Synopsis (Written by My Anime List)

The idea of a place where you don’t grow up into an adult world sounds like heaven to most children. That’s why Disney’s Peter Pan and his adventures in Neverland became so popular to both kids and adults who enjoyed the fictional story of the hero Peter Pan, as well as the other protagonist, Wendy Darling, and her brothers. CloverWorks’ Japanese manga turned anime series “The Promised Neverland” took this concept and put their own dark twist on it. The Promised Land television series adaptation premiered this past January to March of 2019.

STORY: 10/10

The Promised Neverland started great and got better as the debut season premiered. While not going into too much detail, every piece of the show from the visual artistry to the audio production did a good job working together to add more weight in each second of run time.  The show opens with what you would expect in a show that has “Neverland” in the title: Happiness. There seems to be nothing, but good times in this orphanage house with a surprising amount of land. That illusion is quickly short-lived as the main characters Emma, the typical happy shonen protagonist, and Norman, an intelligent and caring child, find out that all is not what it seems. The show does a fantastic job of giving just enough information to keep you interested while still remaining a total mystery. It’s very parallel to show gruesome violence.  The fact that you only see what the kids see and it doesn’t build much on the world around them gives you enough clues that make you want to learn more. By the end, the show didn’t bother to give viewers answers to many of the questions one might have had asked. The show’s intentions I believe wasn’t to answer lingering questions, but in turn, was something I didn’t find myself bothered by. With it all said and done, I felt satisfied with how the season ended.

ART: 10/10

The art in the series is very unique. With it being different, not everyone will have the same opinion on this I’m sure. For me, the slightly, deformed look of the characters threw me off at first, but after a while, I found myself enjoying the art style of the original character designer, Posuka Demizu. Her art really helped emphasize the moods of the characters…whether that be from happiness to pure terror. The visuals also really helped immerse me into their world. I was on the edge of my seat when the characters themselves were figuratively on the edge of their seat.
Since the animation was unique to the series, it made scenes with a lot of fast moment, such as running through the forest, look really good.  Another observation was that every character all looked very different from one another. The main characters look really fit them all in terms of presentation. From Emma’s bright, orange hair, which fit her happy personality, to Ray’s Black hair matching his Sasuke-like demeanor. While the computer-generated imagery (CGI) looked good, it showed up in the last seconds of the show. This didn’t make much sense to me since that was the scene that would take the least amount of effort to draw out animation-wise.

(Source: YouTube)

SOUND: 10/10

CloverWorks studio hit it out of the park with their voice acting selections. I didn’t feel myself being taken out of the immersion of the story by bad voice acting. Mariya Ise, who has worked in shows such as Fairy Tail and Code Geass, was slightly better than her peers for her portrayal of Ray, as I felt that it was a match made in heaven. I enjoyed the selection of “Touch Off” by UVERworld, as it helped set the mood for the show and was overall a good song in general. Especially in the tense moments, the background songs helped enrich the mood of the scenes. In particular, I found myself sweating with my heart beating fast along with the characters in those tight situations.

CHARACTER: 10/10

Every character that had a decent amount of screen time felt alive. The three main characters, Ray, Norman and, Emma, besides being drastically different in terms of looks, all were different in personality. Norman stands out as the character I enjoyed the most because of the way he logically thought and definitely cemented himself as a character that I won’t easily forget. While the main characters had their personal strengths and weakness, the character that shined the brightest was the caretaker of the kids: The Mom. Their humanization was something that by the end of the 12th episode, I found myself empathizing with them.

ENJOYMENT: 10/10

The Promised Neverland is a show I think everyone can enjoy. This show has replay-ability based on the characters alone and being able to see their growth was fantastic. The show could be easily compared to the abstract strategy game of “Go” with both sides attacking and counter-attacking. I think this show might even make into other peoples’ top 10 animes of all-time. As of right now, it is one of the top shows from this past winter season.

OVERALL: 10/10

The Promised Neverland hits every point just right. I felt fully immersed in the story. I was in that house with the kids trying to make sure we worked towards solving the problem. This show told its story very well and made it enjoyable to watch. Every single episode was fantastic and got better as time went on.
_______
King Ether is your everyday nerd just trying to write about the things he loves in life. You can find him streaming on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/king_ether.

COLUMN — “Blacks At Xbox:” Great Community. Not-So-Great Marketing.

"Black At Xbox" Logo

By Paul “Tru1P” Holston | @Tru1P | 5:30 PM EST, Thurs. March 28, 2019

This is a friendly reminder to both you as a reader and to all gaming companies across the world: Black people should not be your go-to diversity-marketing ploy. Please include diversity and inclusion in your original branding, objectives and mission values.
“Tokenism,” according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, is defined as: “The practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly.” I’m bringing this word to you for a reason.
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