Experience, Empathy, and Robin

Experience, Empathy, and Robin

The first time I saw Robin as a work in progress, I was struck almost speechless. A cute little indie game is right up my alley, and a cute little indie game about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is basically everything I’ve ever wanted. Even better: it’s made by a group of kiwi students who are the sweetest.

Robin’s main mechanic is based off of the Spoon Theory, a common way for chronically ill people to explain their limited energy reserves: as you make Robin perform actions, her energy bar empties until the only option is sleep. It’s simple but effective, and evocative of daily life for someone with Chronic Fatigue. A rapidly depleting energy bar is a part of life for us, not just a game mechanic.

However, though chronically ill people may find their lives reflected in some form in Robin, I suppose we must ask the question: can a game ever actually help able people empathize with those who are chronically ill? Can a game really make someone understand in a way that positively changes their thought patterns?

Yeah, probably.

Read More

Three Ways Social Fandom Can Inspire Us

Three Ways Social Fandom Can Inspire Us

I’m a nerd. I’ve been one since Pokemon first aired in little ol’ Aotearoa and I tried to make Pikachus out of modelling clay with my mum. The attempted Pikachus melted, I still loved them.

Much of my childhood was dominated by Pokemon, to the point that I would actually say my childhood was defined by it, as well as Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. These franchises helped me form strong friendships, find a love for the creative, and explore an interest in books and film. Most of all, these things helped me encounter joy in hard times. Being a nerd is as much a part of me as my love for food.

Recently, cynicism has been everywhere. Or, has it always been? It seems that whenever enough people love something, a vocally negative group pops up to disagree. So let’s talk positive:

There have been three defining moments for me recently that sparked something inside me. As if, for just a second, the clouds had parted and sunlight had shone down upon me. Weird, right? Who even remembers what happiness feels like these days? Not me, apparently.

Wait, didn’t I say I was going to talk positive?

Read More

Female Protagonists, Who Cares?

Female Protagonists, Who Cares?

While at PAX Australia earlier this month I tagged along to a panel called, Who Cares About Female Protagonists? with a friend because, well, I care about female protagonists a hell of a lot.

There’s a reason the majority of my favourite games are headed by women and girls, or at least give the player the option to pick their gender (props to you, BioWare.) These games make me feel like I can be a hero in a way male-led games do not. They make me feel like I can be something more than I am.

Read More

To See Ourselves in Fiction

To See Ourselves in Fiction

I’ve always been that person who constantly and consistently fights for other people–be it for better or worse–but has never worried too much about herself. When it came to representation in media, I’ve always been vocally backing up that yes, we need trans people, we need people of colour, we need asexuals and aromantics and all the other facets of the LGBT+ umbrella.

But I never really worried about myself, I never felt I needed to see people I identified with in the shows, books, games and movies I love. Sure, I was bitter at the utter refusal from shows like Orange is the New Black to use the b-word (bisexual, the word is bisexual), but I reiterate that actually seeing a bi gal on the silver screen didn’t feel vital to me. Other people needed (and still do need) that representation more.

And then The Legend of Korra happened. Read More

PAX to the Future

PAX to the Future

I started this year with the goal that I will write, and I will write what I’ve planned—even if it takes me far too long to get to it. I said I would write about PAX Aus, and so:

PAX. A huge con that spanned the weekend of October 31 to November 1 last year at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

So many trees in that city! SO MUCH GREEN
So many trees in that city! SO MUCH GREEN

I’d been dreaming of visiting Melbourne for years, ever since being told it’s a “cooler Wellington”. Being invited along to PAX—Penny Arcade Expo—by my friends was the perfect opportunity to see the city and finally taste its world-class coffee.

(In hindsight, I’m not sure I even drank coffee there.)

Read More

Sexuality in Space

Sexuality in Space

Science fiction is the broadening of horizons. It’s the extending of what is real for us, now, into what could (perhaps) be real to us in the future. So many of our realities are echoed in these stories set in the far future — or even a long, long time ago — but not so much for folk who fall under the LGBT umbrella. There seems mostly to be a set sexuality in space: heterosexual.

Star Wars, as anyone who has ever talked to me would know, is hugely important to me. However, there’s one (now non-canon!) character I can identify with, sexuality-wise. One! Out of hundreds! My darling Juhani from Knights of the Old Republic, who is often looked over in favour of Carth or Bastila. She is either lesbian or, because of a bug apparently, bisexual. When I first learnt I could romance her with my lady jedi I literally whooped with joy, and she never left my side from the moment she joined my party.
Read More