Lunar New Year in Guild Wars 2!

There is an in-game celebration going on for the Canthan Lunar New Year happing for Guild Wars 2. Clover was asking me this morning which holiday came after Wintersday, so now we know!

Cantha is a fictional nation based on historical cultures from Eastern Asia, its name probably derived from the Guangdong province, formerly romanised as Canton. In the original Guild Wars it was a complete game on its own, with a fantastic imperial city and really interesting wilderness areas (an entire sea was turned to jade!), but it is no longer accessible in Guild Wars 2 due to in-game justifications.

The Lunar New Year from Cantha of course matches the Chinese New Year! As all the holidays in Guild Wars are accompanied with mini-games and themed consumables, Lunar New Year gets fireworks and red envelopes and I’m sure something else but who cares: fireworks!

We’ve decided Clover isn’t going to watch me play violent video games, but we still play holiday games in GW2 if there isn’t combat involved. This will be our first Lunar New Year celebration, I am sure e is looking forward to it! ^_^

Guild Wars 2 – Living World Season 3: Out of the Shadows

Oh, I am excited for the new Living Season coming out next week for Guild Wars 2! They dropped a trailer for it recently (some spoilers for the game!):

I am all updated and looking forward to this! I love taking a break and coming back to explore a whole new portion of Tyria! Normally I log in for a few hours every couple weeks, but I am betting I will be on there nightly for the next few months. ^_^

Remember, I have a safe, inclusive guild on there, so drop me a message if you want to party up!

Violence in games

Since the Sandy Hook shootings I’ve played with the idea of reducing violence in my media. The worst music I listen to is LMFAO, which is sexist and stupid, but they have great bass lines. If they sang about shooting, I wouldn’t listen to it. Movies and tv are a mixed lot, but I don’t actually see that much violence, and when I do it is over the top, and often one side is advocating a stop to aggression (Naruto comes to mind). It may be that I just watch a lot of stuff, so the proportions are better.

Video games pose a problem. I don’t think that games make people violent, based on my experience and those of others around me. I played Dungeons and Dragons at a time when people thought we would go kill each other in steam tunnels. The actual game session is amazingly boring to non-players; if you didn’t have the audio, it would be like watching people working on an invisible puzzle together, but marking down notes and using grid paper as reference. I’ve also played many first person shooters, which are the obvious candidate for training people to be shooters.

Despite not believing that they are assisting people in murder, I wanted to give it a try, to see if I can get away from violence in video games. It isn’t easy.

There are genres that make it easy, like puzzles or racing simulations (though even those have popular titles that are laden with violence). When I look at my own favorites, it seems like the repetitive mini-game in each of them is to hit something with a sword. That isn’t great. And I am trying to figure out why. Is it conflict? Do we just naturally share stories that have people in danger?

I haven’t been exposed to real violence in years, and I feel like it fades from memory, the thrill and pain involved in suffering from or observing a human receive physical trauma. Maybe violence in media is a way that humans retain a cultural memory of just how bad things can get.

Regardless, I am troubled, because I have an opportunity to invest in violent games, or do something else. I am starting a new RPG campaign, using a system that seems to lean on violent encounters. At the same time, I will soon have a laptop that can play Guild Wars 2, a game that I’ve been excited to play for years, and which is basically grinding through violent acts for hours with friends online. I wanted to play because I am working so much it is useful to have a grindy and entertaining distraction to decompress before sleep. Now I am not so sure.

I am a gamer. The materials and processes that have emerged in my life time makes it easier than ever to create interactive stories for people. I love it. I want Clover to enjoy and learn from them. But I have a lot more thinking to do while I figure out how I want to be exposed to violence, and what it says about the stories we share.

Week 28: Games, beverages, stuff

One of Susan’s co-workers suggested that I take a daily photo of myself to document how my look changes over time. I did it for three days before I forgot to take a photo for the day. So, that is out. And besides, my look doesn’t change that much day to day. However, it is sometimes substantial from week to week.

Add to the fact that I am constantly taking photos throughout the week that I don’t do anything with, I think a weekly Monday post with interesting tidbits from the week prior, along with a gallery, would be a good idea. So let’s try that.

In gaming news, Magic: The Gathering got a rules update. Interesting part: Deathtouch can assign one point of damage to a creature to count as lethal. Relevance? Deathtouch and trample. ^_^

Also, Eternities Map, a Planechase variant, looks very cool.

I picked up Guild Wars: Eye of the North from Half-price Books. Why? Guild Wars 2! Specifically, the Hall of Monuments. What sucks about it? I have to play GW to get the tapestries that let me trick out my hall… and I can’t jump. As in, Thrembode of Orr can not lift both his feet off the ground at the same time! Ack!

I had tea and red bean dumplings at Berkeley Teahouse. It was great! It made me want to really get into tea, the sencha I had was invigorating.

Speaking of beverages, besides our normal fare of Tree Frog Ale and Stonehenge Stout, Susan and I had a glass of B-4k, Triple Rock’s 4000th batch of beer. It was nice, very smooth and fruity. Also, we got a pint of Drake’s Hefeweizen, which had been described to us as being “bitter banana”. Susan described it as “orange blossom”, which is more accurate to my tasting.

Triple Rock‘s website is embarrassing.

I caught some books of light attacking complementing Susan, cleaned up my web presence, and ran the sixth session in D&D Encounters. I even found time to wax poetical on Neko Ramen and YARPP. ^_^

So, I guess this is going to be kinda like a weekly brain dump. I am okay with that, of course. It feels good to post these things, which needs a little more detail than a microblog post. Since I added links to the posts from last week, I am going to use this as a weekly digest of what I am talking about, on the web and beyond. So, if my feed gets too bloated, you could always subscribe to the weekly (RSS) tag. Bam, useful technology!

Also, photos(!):