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  1. This is the second week in a row where an episode I never had much interest in proved to be a pleasant surprise. "A Health of Information" is kinda simple and rather expository, but it's got a breakneck pace, a strong collection of jokes, and some surprisingly high stakes which lend the episode a lot of intensity. As I've said before, this show doesn't need a strong emotional core or a sharp eye for continuity to impress me. Those things are nice, but before it has that, all I want from it is to be fun. "A Health of Information" is probably one of the 5 most entertaining episodes this season. Not bad for a story which seemingly only exists to set up the finale!

    While helping Fluttershy find a moss for  her sanctuary, Zecora catches a rare disease called Swamp Fever, which has no known cure and, if untreated, will eventually turn her into the same type of tree which gave her the disease. Blaming herself, Fluttershy immediately enlists the help of Twilight and spares no expense in finding the cabin of the Mage Meadowbrook, a healer famed for curing a great many diseases before vanishing suddenly. In the process, however, Fluttershy forgets to take care of herself.

    First and foremost, it must be noted that "A Health of Information" is easily the funniest episode since at least "Discordant Harmony." From Zecora's heartbeat sounding like a drum roll to Twilight becoming excited about Meadowbrook's diary, the silly gags keep coming, and they come at a much faster rate than other funny episodes this season like "Triple Threat" or "To Change a Changeling." The plot moves by so quickly that it never has time to lull, and the episode smartly fills that space with clever gags and cute character moments. A lot of the dialogue consists of characters just explaining the plot to each other and exclaiming how they feel, but even that is tied to individual personalities much more successfully than the likes of "Daring Done?."

    The cutest of these moments all come from Fluttershy, whose sheer determination is super endearing. Even more than "Flutter Brutter," this episode finds a comfortable balance between her soft demeanour, her caring personality, and her newfound assertiveness. This all seems quite admirable, but ironically, Fluttershy's determination is presented as an issue, since it leads to her not taking care of herself. Eventually, this culminates in her catching Spring Fever herself, which she continues trying to persevere through despite visibly suffering from severe symptoms.

    What makes this work so well is that it's so easy to relate to. Fluttershy starts neglecting her own health because of things which we usually admire in characters, and her feeling of being responsible for Zecora's illness is relatable and sympathetic. It's easy to imagine an alternate version of this story where Fluttershy's insistence is treated as a good thing, so when that's subverted and shown to be ultimately causing more trouble for both herself and others who worry about her, it's somewhat surprising, which makes for a very effective moral.

    Still, the characterization here does have issues, and a lot of them stem from the rapid pacing. While Fluttershy is mostly alright, she comes across as uncharacteristically hyperactive, which is a double edged sword. On one hand, it leads to a lot of the episode's funniest and cutest moments, but on the other, it's kinda distracting to see Fluttershy acting so weirdly. Maybe she had too much coffee. This weird hyperactivity extends to everyone else, especially Twilight, which is ironic given how the latter serves as the voice of reason here. Twilight tells Fluttershy to calm down, and even falls asleep on a pile of books at one point, but she too often comes across like she drank a whole case of energy drinks.

    Thankfully, this is yet another example of Twilight being great this season, and even her role as a voice of reason makes a little more sense here. Because we've so often seen Twilight becoming equally stressed out over much less important things than this, it makes sense that she'd know how to handle such stressful situations. Furthermore, it comes across better here than in "P.P.O.V." simply because she's been much more fallible this season, and it helps that she's also very funny in this episode, as in a brief scene where she and Spike are having a "cook off."

    This episode also introduces a new legendary character in the form of Mage Meadowbrook, and her flashback is perhaps the best one yet. Like Somnambula, we don't get a particularly deep sense of Meadowbrook's personality, but also like Somnambula, she comes across as charming and admirable, and the cultural aesthetic here is a bit less rote than any of the preceding legends, showing muted Cajun/Louisiana Creole influences without incorporating any tired mystical elements. This flashback is all about observing the natural world, and while its parallel for the main story is about as suspicious as that in "Daring Done?," that parallel also gives it the flavour which was missing from "Campfire Tales."

    Finally, and most intriguingly, the episode has surprisingly high stakes, as if Fluttershy and Twilight fail, Zecora (and later Fluttershy as well) will potentially be subject to a fate worse than death. This show can't directly mention death, but it can refer to characters slowly having their body warped into an immobile, toxic form, possibly being robbed of their sapience in the process. That's even worse than real swamp fever, which just causes death through anemia, and it gives the story a much higher level of tension than it might otherwise have. Rarely is there this much at risk in the show, and that makes the episode feel genuinely refreshing.

    Just when I was starting to give up on this show, it has surprised me with two unexpectedly enjoyable episodes which offer a lot of the things I missed this season. "A Health of Information" is upbeat and fast-paced, and gains a lot of energy just from having really high stakes. Top it off with a solid moral, some fun characterization, and the best "legend" yet, and what issues the episode does have seem minor given just how fun the whole thing is. See, this is what I want from the show. Give me more like this.

    Score: 
    Entertainment: 8/10
    Characters: 7/10
    Themes: 9/10
    Story: 8/10
    Overall: 83/100

    You can find more episode reviews at my offsite blog

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    Eros.png.543ebe96061e64e312328af8d9b7b867.png

    Name: Eros

    Age: 8

    Gender: Female

    Species: Pegasus

    Description: Roughly average height like her younger twin, Eros is just an inch or so taller than he. Being twins, they look fairly alike, though Eros is slightly of a slightly darker color, and the obviously black where he has white. And, y'know, the whole unicorn pegasus thing... 

    Like her brother, Eros hasn't earned her cutie mark yet. No one's really sure what it'll be, though they imagine it'll have something to do being reckless.

    Personality: Eros can basically be summed up into one word: Daredevil. She loves pushing herself to her limits and testing her abilities. She also happens to be a bit of a trouble magnet, but is almost always able to find a way out of her predicaments. She's pretty well aware of her ability to attract danger and tries her best to keep others out of it. She always puts others first, but not out of a low self worth. She genuinely cares for people and wishes to see them unharmed, a trait she learned from both her parents.

    Backstory: 

    Born and raised in Puerto Seguro to Captain Sergio the Soulless and Sandra, Eros and her twin brother have spent their entire lives around pirates. Being the children of the governor, they're usually either treated with respect and tolerance or avoided altogether so as to not anger the governor. Anyone who has ever laid a hoof on them has always come to regret it.

    Eros spends most of her time down by the docks, talking to pirates, retired and current, to learn all she can about pirating. She wants to eventually join her older brother Virgil's crew, though she knows she can't quite yet. When she's not doing that, she's most likely to be seen racing through the skies over Puerto Seguro with the other pegasi.

  2. Shine Inside Out by InuHoshi-to-DarkPen

    As should be VERY evident in this thread, the fandom artist community pretty much exploded after this episode :D

    Good evening everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"!  First of all, apologies for getting this review out so late.  Just been having trouble making time for it over the last few days on account of a whole lot of exciting real life stuff that's been happening.  But that will be saved for another day, for now, onto the episode itself!  Without further ado, this is "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You."

    Confident by Petrinox

    So first things first, I just have to say that this was an odd duck of an episode.  Like, not a bad one, far from it.  In fact in execution this is a perfectly good episode, and in tone very much in the same vein as predecessors from Season 1 or Season 2 of the show.  But that said, what did stand out to me as apparent was the fact that this was a Season 7 subject in an episode executed like a Season 1 or Season 2 episode, and that threw me for a bit of a loop.  Unlike last week's episode, this is not so much a bad or disappointing thing as simply an odd thing to ponder.  I cannot help but find myself asking "What if this episode had been executed differently?" and in fact will do just that at the end of the review.  But for now, let's delve into what we got here.

    To start, Rarity kicks ass here, and I don't just say that because of the end.  This was undoubtedly a Season 7 Rarity performance; while the character has never been completely self-obsessed or shallow I cannot help but think that if this episode had debuted in Season 1, she would have displayed far less grace or restraint in how she handled things than she did here.  Instead, we got a Rarity who, while more than understandably upset at her predicament, did not come across as particularly shallow at any point; if anything, we actually readily understood how being unable to fix such a situation could truly devastate her without it feeling forced.  Rarity doesn't just put a premium on maintaining good looks to make herself feel better, she does it to make an impression on ponies both in her own dealings as well as when she's lending a helping hoof to them, as evidenced by the opening scene of this episode where she's going around town lending assistance to various businesses and establishments.  This does have a practical effect in that, well, without sounding too shallow, if there's one thing folks love more than practical-minded people, it's practical-minded people who look radiant.  Politicians like John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, etc. all had good looks and distinct images, and this applies to business as well.  A great example that comes to mind is who will folks always associate as the face of Apple, Jobs or Wozniak?  Jobs of course, and not just because he was the better PR guy and knew how to connect to what customers wanted, but because eventually he developed a distinct image that, while not Hollywood-handsome, was its own kind of handsome within the Silicon Valley world.  Point is, Rarity looking good isn't just something that she shallowly does to make herself feel better; at this point, it's simply a part of who she is and how she carries herself about, and there's nothing really wrong with that.  She doesn't think she's better than other ponies because of it, she doesn't really even flaunt it, she just enjoys looking fabulous and using that part of herself to help others try to realize their own potential to be fabulous in their own ways.

    1536728__safe_screencap_rarity_starlight+glimmer_twilight+sparkle_it+isn%27t+the+mane+thing+about+you_spoiler-colon-s07e19_alicorn_animated_discovery+f.gif

    When you're just having one of "those" days :lie:

    This makes her reaction to losing most of her mane more than believable, even if some of her bits during her most panicky moments are hilarious.  She doesn't just focus on getting it back (even if that is her top priority), she really does try to go about her business as well but just finds at first that she can't.  She also doesn't blame Zecora or Pinkie Pie, and tries to have as much of a stiff upper lip as she can.  Let's also consider that this isn't just something Rarity would freak out about; she may freak out more than most would, but evidently losing one's mane or tail is something that most ponies dread and understand magic can't fix easily, if at all.  Even her sadness is, eventually, oddly subdued; normally we'd expect to see Rarity having a grand and fabulously over-the-top display of drama when she's especially feeling low, but here her lowest point is Rarity just... well, not being Rarity.  She truly feels at that moment like she's not her true self, and can't even muster the ability to lament her current state as grandly as she normally would.  That was a nice, subtle touch and Tabitha St. Germain's handling of the subdued, restrained Rarity in that moment was very effective.  The ending of course was fantastic, and Rarity rocking the punk look all over town was as unexpected as it was delightful to watch, especially when she kept acting like herself again, it contrasted the punk image so wonderfully!  And her learning to always believe that she was always fabulous no matter what she looked like, so long as she still behaved fabulously and channeled that into everything she did, was a great lesson for both herself as well as those who may be most affected by this episode, and a nice continuation of part of the lesson from Rarity's own legend of Mistmane which she recounted just a few episodes ago.  So all in all, I really have no complaints about Rarity's performance here or how she was written; I still enjoyed her turn in "Campfire Tales" more personally, and for me that's still her highlight of the season, but this was a splendid turn for her all the same.

    Rocking this mane (avaliable as shirt) by GaelleDragons

    Zecora coming back (in the first of back-to-back appearances, how about that!) was a welcome return, and unlike Daring Do's performance last week, Zecora's appearance here was not, thankfully, botched.  I was honestly a little disappointed we didn't get to see her just shoot the shit some more with Pinkie Pie and Rarity when she started talking about manes and how tricky they are to handle with magic, but that was mostly because an unfortunate truth about Zecora is that she's usually there for the purpose of plot devices more than anything else.  Most of what she says is either exposition about something that will be critical to the plot, or words of wisdom tied into the lesson learned.  Make no mistake, I still enjoy her as a character and think she was used well here, but it is something I've noticed about her over time, and really it's a big reason we should see more of her, so that she's not just being used in such formulaic and predictable ways.  Also, I can't help but think she should have taken a little bit more of the blame here for what happened to Rarity; she may not have gotten the bottles mixed up, but she is partially responsible in that she had no labels for two VERY different potions that look exactly the same.  Overall, however, it was just nice seeing Ponyville's resident zebra once more, and I'm sure it'll be even better seeing her in this week's upcoming episode!

    Pinkie Pie, on the other hand, kind of annoyed me here.  Her performance was nowhere near "MMMMystery on the Friendship Express" levels of bad or anything, but the best way I can put it is that they wrote her unnecessarily stupid here for the purposes of the plot.  This is not the first time this has ever happened to Pinkie Pie as her over-the-top nature is often exploited by the show to create some kind of foil or plot device that gets everything else rolling, and many times it too has come off as lazy writing for this character.  Pinkie may hardly be the brightest member of the Mane 6, but some of the shit she was doing in this episode seemed to be stuff that a five year old could figure out.  Her spraying of that ridiculously sticky silly string EVERYWHERE in sight felt like something she'd impulsively do in a bad MLP fanfiction, not an actual episode; her repeated suggestion to simply use any cupcakes she salvaged from the silly string rather than bake new ones came off as both lazy and inconsiderate to the Cakes or their customers (even if it was a funny gag at certain points); and she seems to have spent at least an entire afternoon, if not one or multiple days even, simply trying to clean Sugarcube Corner up with the wrong potion, and you're telling me that in all of that time she never realized that this might be shampoo and not a magical cleaner???  All in all, hardly Pinkie's worst showing, but not exactly a flattering one either.

    New mane style by LooknamTCN

    She did, however, admittedly look rather adorable at the end of the episode after the shampoo debacle

    The rest of the Mane 6, on the other hand, were phenomenal, especially at the end.  Twilight and Starlight (honorary fill-in for Spike here as far as I'm concerned) did admittedly get off to a bit of a rough start, mostly in that they, once again, couldn't resist messing with the laws of nature by trying to do something with their magic which, not a second before, they had said they shouldn't when they tried to assist Rarity with her mane through their magic.  Now look, I get that they were just trying to be good friends, but (1) they've both made this mistake enough times with often near disastrous consequences that they should know better by this point, and (2) Twilight's first attempt in particular was a really shitty thing of her to do.  They're trying to help their friend get her mane back, or some semblance of it, and what does she do?  Why steal another pony's mane of course, much to that poor bucking crystal pony stallion's horror!  I don't even get how the writers thought they could play this for laughs when they literally just gave this guy the same exact problem that Rarity was contending with the entire time, except I doubt he has a group of friends that includes a bucking Equestrian princess to help him try to get over such a dilemma.  That'd be like doing a high school drama episode where, in order to help a friend who was anorexic, her friends tried somehow "passing" her anorexia onto someone else.  Not a solid solution guys, not at all!  At least the rest of their magical attempts weren't harmful to anyone else, and it was fantastic hearing them at least say no to attempting using time travel to fix things, but still, it was kind of ridiculous that those two made as many attempts as they did when they were so sure to start out that it wouldn't work.

    Besides that, however, Rarity's friends were great.  Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack in particular tried their best to come through, first in trying to come up with whatever kind of wigs they could (in all honesty Applejack's was probably the most likely to work, even if Rainbow's looked the prettiest, but dear Lord Flutters I don't know why you thought Harry the Bear's green plant wig would work at all... even if it was hilarious and adorable seeing Harry working on it), and second in trying to bolster Rarity's spirits and help her regain her confidence to channel her inner fabulosity no matter what she looked like.  Applejack in particular had some very personal lines of encouragement and support, a nice dose of Rarijack and reminder of how close those two in particular are in a season where we haven't seen a whole lot of it outside of this and one other episode.  Probably her best line was when she hearkened back all the way to their very first adventure, reminding Rarity of when she did her first major act of generosity among her friends in giving up her tail to Steven Magnet; this was not only a critical element of Rarity's own nature to remind her of, but also highlighted how close these two are in showing how much of an impression this memory in particular must have left on Applejack.  In the end, their support and friendship was exactly what Rarity needed in order to regain her confidence.

    At least someone's having fun... by StarBlaze25

    Ponyville itself was very much alive in this episode, again in a way reminiscent of Seasons 1 and 2.  The Flower Sisters, Roseluck, Daisy, and Lily, in particular had great showings and even showed shades of character growth; while they came close to panicking like they were so wont to do in early seasons, they ultimately kept their cool (with some assistance from Rarity) and did some smashing business with their flower sales while they were at it.  They also treated Rarity the least different of any other business associates around Ponyville after her mane fiasco, simply unable to help her when they couldn't see her mane, which felt like a far more natural reaction than the other two.  Speaking of which, fan pony salesman and Davenport, the owner of Quills and Sofas, were not nearly as charming.  Fan pony store owner was relatively harmless, but he came off as a really inept business owner seeing as he was hurting his own business... simply because he had all of the fans in his store going at once, which made it hard for any pony to even enter his store.  Pretty stupid move on his part, plus his later comments about "non-fabulous" ponies seemed a bit... superficial, at least how he delivered them.  Davenport, however, was far worse in that he wasn't just stupid for not having wider variety in his sofas to start out, but was also a complete jackass!  Dude made a business arrangement with Rarity, a very simple one at that; she gave him VERY sound business advice that helped him improve his sales, and in return all she wanted was a custom-made chaise lounge.  Hell, as far as we know she was even going to pay for it in bits as well, so the fact that he was willing to break that agreement just for a few more bits is dickish beyond all belief.  If I was Rarity, I wouldn't do business with a guy like that ever again!  How can you really trust a guy like that in any type of business arrangement if he's willing to straight up break his word when it comes to his own business?!  Aside from that, we had some fun appearances from Filthy Rich, Caramel (who may or may not now be a father of a filly via Sassaflash, who he was dating back in Season 2), Granny Smith and Grand Pear (who could be spotted in multiple scenes selling apple and pear products at a shared stand in the Ponyville Market), Apple Bloom conversing with Burnt Oak (again, another great bit of continuity from "The Perfect Pear," even if it would have been cooler seeing Big Mac talk to him), Big Mac and Sugar Belle taking a romantic walk at Sweet Apple Acres (something which I missed in my first viewing, though to be fair they showed it sooooooo briefly that it really is easy for anyone to miss), and Derpy at both the beginning and end, including rocking the ONLY one of the Rarity-inspired punk manes that looked as fabulous as hers did!  Seeing so many different faces from Ponyville showing up in notable roles here was great, and something that is far too rare at this point in the show.

    large.png

    Mannnnnnnn, the Flower Sisters are SO CUTE!!! :wub:

    Colour Co-ordination by bobthedalek

    As you can see, all of the elements we had in this episode easily add up to a good, perfectly likable episode.  So you're probably wondering in what way I think it possibly could have been better?  Well, odd as it may sound, I really do think this episode, by virtue of its subject alone, could have been far more daring if it wanted to.  Allow me to explain.

    The elephant in the room with the subject of an episode like this is twofold.  Rarity lost something which she believed is fundamental to achieving her own identity.  Not in a superficial way (mostly), but this is a character who loves being fabulous and sharing that side of herself with others in any way she can, so it's easy to understand why this situation would be so personally distressful for her.  Obviously, this episode can easily be relatable for two groups of people: (1) more generally speaking, anyone who has lost due to unfortunate circumstances something about themselves they consider to be a defining trait, or (2) more specifically, people who have lost their hair, especially due to a medical condition of some kind.  That's a pretty heavy real world parallel for any MLP ep, and there's no way the writers weren't aware of it.  So how could they have pushed the envelope just a bit more with this one?  In just a few little ways, really.  For starters, even though Rarity's mane eventually grew back, we didn't need to see that at the end of the episode; it needlessly minimized what she'd gone through, as well as the triumph of how she'd just rectified her situation as best as she could.  Going even further, she didn't even necessarily need to fix her mane at all; as awesome as the punk mane was, I couldn't help but wonder (1) why it didn't occur to her to do that in the first place, and (2) how she had enough hair to do that?  For her it was a wonderful fix, but in real world parallels, lots of people can't always do such a fun solution as Rarity did.  Some may have no hair to spare at all (though of course wigs are always an option), and for others the lack of hair may even be the least of their problems.

    Derpy Style by lachlan765

    So what could have happened instead?  Well, I say, what if the Mane 6 hadn't been able to really help Rarity?  What if no one at first could, and she herself couldn't simply fix it by going with a different mane style?  What if eventually, she came across somepony who in many ways had it even rougher than she did?  This could either have been somepony with some kind of medical condition, or if the writers wanted to be less serious, a character like Derpy who has been the town klutz for years and has had to always live with that.  In either case, she could have simply talked with this pony, asking in awe how they've managed to stay positive or their chipper selves despite their struggles and challenges in life.  Their answer?  They never let whatever bad conditions or circumstances they had in their lives define who they were.  They always stay true to themselves and never, ever let any limitations they face keep them from remaining who they are, for their own sake as well as for the sake of those they love.  Doing it doesn't mean it's easy, just worthwhile.  Such an example would have been inspiring to somepony like Rarity, and led her to concluding the same thing she did in the episode as it is, simply in more dramatic fashion as the result of a far more serious experience.

    Now again, I must reiterate that this episode did not disappoint me.  Executed as it was, it was a very good episode.  But I still strongly believe that it could have been more if it wanted to be, and can't help but regret that we'll never get to see what it could have been if treated just a tad more seriously, even if what we got all around was good itself.  That's all I've got for you everypony, until next time this is Batbrony signing off.  I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*

    Let's close this thread with, what else, a shitload of Punk Rarity pics!!! :D

    Raritys Confidence by Jazzerix

    Punk Rarity by Scarlet-Spectrum

    .:New style baby:.+SpeedPaint by FJ-C

    Punk Rarity (with Speedpaint) by wolfchen999

    Rarity punk by RedchetGreen

    Fastest Hooves In Equestria by Underpable

    Sounds of magic by Mechagen

    I won't lie, if this had happened, it would have easily been the most metal thing ever!!! :love:

  3. Hello! this saga is back! ill share some of the most weird videos i been founding on Youtube hoping i can give you some weird nights. This time the theme are Channels. These Channels are done by artists/lunatics on Youtube, again, i want to clarify that none of those videos have screamers and you can watch them at your own risk

    2h32 is a youtuber that makes creepy content, to be honest i haven't watch all the videos but i thought that i may share this with you

    La pasion is a psychedelic video that i don't recomend to watch it if you have epilepsy

     

    Brian is a username that makes amazing animations on 3d, but i reccomend discretion watching some of his jobs

     

    Possibly in Michigan is a shortfilm made by Cecelia Condit in 1983, is surreal and is kinda disturbing, i present you a excerpt

    Scorpion Party is a video where's our antihero Scorpion, is not a scary video but kinda curious 

     

  4. My friends, I believe that I'm long overdue for an indefinite period of self-discipline. At minimum, two weeks and three days.

    I will start by getting rid of non-essential belongings. I will have a strict diet... no junk food.

    I will go to bed earlier, and wake up earlier.

    I will refrain from overindulging in consumer culture.

    This indefinite time will be dedicated to learning, becoming healthier, and generally bettering myself.

    I'm announcing this to no one in particular. Consider it a statement of intent.

    This image of Thoth will seal this agreement. Because Thoth looks cool.

    So upon hitting "Submit Entry", I say bye bye!

     

    00129.jpg

  5. Girls, can you explain why I look like Im getting married at the bottom of a pit? Cheerilee

    Hearts and Hooves Day (the Equestrian version of Valentine’s Day) has come to Ponyville, and love is in the air. Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are busy creating a giant greeting card to give to their teacher, Miss Cheerilee. This construction involves large quantities of paper, lace, glitter and paint. Despite the rather haphazard method of its creation, the finished product looks oddly professional… and far too large to fit into the envelope.

    At school, Cheerilee thanks the girls for their gift. Sweetie surmises that she must have gotten an even better present from her “Very Special Somepony” but Cheerilee reveals that she is currently single, stunning the fillies. Despite their protests (and a rather put-upon expression from the teacher), Cheerilee insists she is content with her romance situation, and that the good wishes from her friends and students is enough for her.

    43grincheyes.thumb.jpg.80b57e5808195a7eafe6c8cc4e6ea49c.jpg
    Then Sweetie got an idea. An awful idea. Sweetie got a wonderful, awful idea. (Yeah, I know: wrong holiday. What of it?)

    Sweetie decides the Crusaders should take it upon themselves to find a worthy stallion to be Cheerilee’s VSS, and they quickly head out into Ponyville to find the perfect match. Their search takes the form of a song, sung mostly by Sweetie herself, as they consider and ultimately reject all of Ponyville’s single stallions left and right. There are a few noteworthy images during the song. (Oh, hai, inspiration for Button Mash) Including the first outright acknowledgement of death in Equestria… yup, the “too old” pony is a priest officiating at a funeral: you can see the casket on the right of the screen. The other rather noteworthy entrant in the potential partner pageant is the stallion who is “too strangely obsessed with tubs of jelly”. :blink: Eventually, they come to Big Mac, who they find doesn’t have any plans for HnHD, and decide he will be the one. Apple Bloom points out that Big Mac is shy and probably wouldn’t make the first move on Cheerilee. They then decide to set up a picnic at the gazebo, to set the mood and get Cheerilee to make the first move instead.

    After the picnic is all set up, Cheerilee appears. The girls had brought her out, saying they need help with identifying a tree… an apple tree. Cheerilee is understandably confused. Just then, Big Mac also arrives, having come to fix the gazebo. The fillies then try to leave them alone, hiding in the bushes. Cheerilee looks long at Big Mac, leans in, and they think their plan is working… only for Cheerilee to point out something stuck in his teeth. “Oh, come on,” indeed, Sweetie Belle. Bonus points for the record scratch. The music sounds distorted afterwards, too.

    The two then head off in opposite directions, leaving the fillies flabbergasted by failure. Cue Twilight… who bumps into them while reading a book. She mentions that the holiday was started by a love potion, piquing the attention of the CMC, who borrow the book and then book it before Twilight can recommend any other reading material. She is not pleased.

    The CMC prepare the potion, and again call out Big Mac and Cheerilee, passing the potion off as punch they want the two to taste test. Cheerilee explains to Big Mac that she’s entirely aware that the three fillies are attempting to set them up, but they decide to humour them anyway and drink the “punch”.

    43incomingdiabetes.thumb.jpg.6b3ca18bafd3cb017e0846bd5a9e7c55.jpg
    Punch drunk. Love.

    The delight of the CMC at their plan coming to fruition is quickly cut short by Cheerilee and Big Mac becoming Sickenly Sweet Sweethearts, complete with baby talk and pet names. At least Big Mac is saying more than his customary "Eeyup" and "Nope". On the other hoof, given what he is actually spouting, maybe that would have been preferable.

    Thoroughly weirded out by the lovebirds, as it were, the CMC retire to their club house to found out what went wrong… only to discover it went horribly right instead. It turns out the original love potion was given by a princess to a princess (interestingly, the princess in question is depicted as an alicorn) but they were so busy being in love that it ended in the destruction of their kingdom. Apple Bloom has a rather dark imagination, we find, as she imagines the results of Big Mac not being able to farm and Cheerilee not being able to teach being an epidemic of poorly educated and starving ponies. However, Sweetie explains that the spell can be broken if they can prevent the couple from seeing each other for an hour. Sounds like a plan…

    The fillies find Big Mac and Cheerilee at Sugarcube Corner, making even Mrs. Cake uncomfortable with their PDA as they share a milkshake… or would, if they could stop insisting the other take the first sip. When Mrs. Cake mentions wedding bells in the near future, Sweetie gets another idea… using preparations for a wedding as a pretext for keeping the sweethearts apart.

    AB and Scoots take Big Mac to get a diamond, and Sweetie takes Cheerilee to Carousel Boutique to get a wedding dress. Sweetie traps Cheerilee in the fitting room, while Apple Bloom stalls Big Mac by refusing all the proffered diamonds. A moment’s carelessness means that Big Mac escapes her. AB sends Scoots to inform Sweetie while she tries to stop Big Mac’s pronking progress. However, not even tying a rope to a house is enough to stop him.

    43ohsothatswhy.thumb.jpg.ac273f4af8c5f850326b7fe3ef5f6041.jpg
    And this is exactly the sort of thing that drives Berry Punch to drink…

    At the Boutique, Sweetie is distressed to hear the news, but gets another idea on spying some nearby shovels. They quickly dig a pit trap for the suitor, and Big Mac calls out for Cheerilee just before falling in. Hearing her snookums’ voice, she busts out, veil and all, and heads for her beau. The CMC try to stand in her way, but she simply bowls them over and leaps into the pit. Fortunately, the two were kept apart long enough to end the spell, leaving a very confused Cheerilee to ask what in Equestria is going on and why she is getting married in a pit.

    The CMC come clean and admit that they made a big mistake trying to force the two into a relationship. Cheerilee thanks them for their concern but she and Big Mac agree the three need to be punished by doing all of Big Mac’s chores (presumably just for the rest of the day.) They also pretend to be going on a real date, just to mess with the fillies some more. And off they stride into the sunset together…

     

    Thoughts on the Episode

    Oh, Sweetie Belle, why do you do things? Without her bright idea to set up Cheerilee with somepony, none of the hijinks would have ensued. Although to be fair, only her first (well, and second, but that was more of a group decision) idea really backfired, the rest of her suggested courses of action actually did assist in ameliorating the first blunder. I think it would have been a little better for AB and Scootaloo to have come up with some suggestions that helped solve the crisis too, since as it is the episode is rather heavily weighted towards Sweetie. She is my favourite Cutie Mark Crusader, though, so I’m not going to object too hard to it.

    I thought the cringe aspect of the enforced relationship was pretty well handled… the way the two acted under the influence of the love poison was just balanced enough that it didn’t become too annoying, but still did enough to make it uncomfortable… which is as it should be, considering the CMC basically used “date rape” tactics on both Cheerilee and Big Mac. I’ll give Apple Bloom a point or two for being the only one to actually question whether they should be doing this. Pity she was so easily convinced to proceed.

    In the end, the fillies can be given a bit of a pass for overriding Cheerilee and Big Mac’s free will, since they are fillies, and such lapses of judgment due to immaturity are easier to forgive than in somepony you could reasonably expect to know better. (Looking at you, Starlight Glimmer!) The important thing is that they did learn their lesson, and they didn’t get off scot-free. Props to Cheerilee for assigning them some sort of punishment and not just letting it go.

    The moral is a little bit meta, since it seems to be a subtle rebuke to the habit some fans have of pairing up ponies without regard to whether it would actually make sense for them to be together. A little bit of romantic speculation is fine (I do it myself sometimes), but I disapprove of the lengths some fans will go to in shipping. See the “Die for our Ship” entry on TV Tropes for examples of the kind of things I mean. But back to the episode itself.

    As I mentioned above, there were a lot of stallions not usually seen around Ponyville during the song, which seems a little bit odd if you think about it, but hey, songs in the show have always needed some leeway in terms of realism. At least it gave the animators an excuse to experiment… although perhaps some experiments were not meant for ponykind to know…

    43notsafeforsweetie.thumb.jpg.60d6614444ad03cf00eebf004bfbacbc.jpg
    A very jarring image, that.

    Speaking of jarring images, the scene in Sugarcube Corner is possibly the most suggestive in the show to date. Dat cherry… And then there’s the shots of all three CMC fillies straddled by Twilight… That one gave me some “Hiiiiii, gurllzzz!” flashbacks. Brrr.

     

    Highlights/Quotes

    Watch Cheerilee’s expression when Sweetie asks about her not having a VSS… Single people everywhere can relate.

    The song is pretty darn funny… watch for that split second of morbidity, though!

    Cheerilee leans in towards Big Mac… soft romantic music plays…
    Cheerilee (dreamily): Big Mac…?
    Big Mac: Yup?
    Cheerilee (normal tone): …you have something stuck in your teeth…
    Sweetie Belle (In the distance): OH, COME ON!!

    When the love potion recipe calls for a Pegasus feather, Sweetie casually yanks one out of Scootaloo’s wings.

    Cheerilee’s Foe Tossing Charge towards Big Mac… then she leaps towards him with an expression of joy… until she realizes they’re about to collide face first…

     

    Pros: A good moral that works both in universe and out of universe. Some pretty funny things happen.
    Cons: Perhaps a bit too Sweetie-centric. Unsettling implications if you think about it too much. Carousel Boutique, but no Rarity? For shame! ;)

     

    Final Rating
    5 – Button’s Mom Rank: This episode has got it going on.
    4 Big Mac / Cheerilee Ship Rank: It seems like it should work, but there’s something not quite right…
    3 – Button Mash Rank: Worth inserting a coin or two, but nothing super special.
    2 – Hugh Jelly Rank: Once taste is enough, then put the lid on the jar.
    1 – Love Poison Rank: For your own sake, don’t ignore the pony skull on the label…

     

    And once more, we get to see a familiar holiday done the pony way, and it is sweet! Not a perfect episode, but still probably one of my favourites featuring the CMC. Next we have an episode that is somewhat less romance themed, A Friend in Deed. Join me next time as we greet a new character and welcome him to Ponyville. Until then, stay sunny side up! :grin:

  6. Since my pony video I made showing my top 5 favorite songs made over 3 million views, and my other pony videos doing much better than most of my other stuff. I am not a Pony and Gamer channel. Expect to see lets plays, Ponies, and whatever else I feel like doing!

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    7GrandDad
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    If you kept an eye on the status updates earlier today, you have likely seen my dismay that someone had beaten me to writing the Super Mario Bros as a mafia story.  I was indeed rather disappointed, I was eager to portray the world of the Mushroom Kingdom in a much, much different light with different portrayals of characters (especially Mario, who is pretty much a blank slate to begin with outside of his canon heroism and bravery).

    You might be asking, "But Grand Dad, if you wanted to write a Mafia Mario fanfiction, why don't you do it anyways?"

    I have a particular need for some kind of spin in my stories.  Even in my planned Miitopia retelling that I mentioned last blog post, I plan to do things that doesn't exactly occur in the actual game, including world-building and lore, in addition to filling out those random levels that occur between major story events, mini-bosses, and bosses with some events, character development, and drama between party members and other characters.  Heck, there may even be a deviation or two.

    But knowing there already exists a mafia take on the Super Mario Bros?  Who is to say it hasn't been done before that or again since?  And if I write my take on such a thing, will I be able to offer a fresh spin on it?  I believe it may be best to go back to the drawing board for a potential Mario fanfiction, shelving elements that I liked in the scrapped mafia story for later use.

  7. While in execution a lot bothered me about this episode, the overall picture is quite fitting to show some differences of Equestria. I found it weird that toupets don't seem to be a thing there. It was a bit funny how they treat a mane like a very special and magical thing, but Pinkie Pie has shown long ago that there's something to it. Rarity just utilizes its magic in a somewhat different way, heh.
    The bottle confusion was just one of those lazy things. At first I didn't even realize they had gotten two different liquids, because I assumed they'd at least get a label or such. The way it was set up one would assume Zecora did it intentionally.
    And with all the different tries of toupets improvised out of anything but hair that gave a totally different look, it was odd that nopony suggested to her to use what's left of her mane for such.

    P.S.: Role switch would have resulted in Punkie Pie. I'd have loved that just for the ... pun! :lol:

  8. I am in my room the entire dream.

    There is an ant infestation, I move my blanket over some of it was on the floor, a queen ant like 2 feet long, wow it looks sturdy don't want it to bite me, I retreat from it a bit til I am cornered in my room and it sorta tries to command me. I just pretend to get along to not get bit.

    Later I am playing videogames, and I miss the Ant and just look out the window wishing I could see it. Probably me trying to demand my dreams retain some consistency. And have some fun with someone who every single decision I make scrutinizes me if I am bad or sinning and I keep trying to fool it/them, and somepony else next to me very briefly.

    Brother walks into my room and I tell him not to because he almost found me in an embarrassing moment. (I am a closet brony n stuff, despite it being VERY obvious I am into the fandom I still try avoiding it where my family is concerned.)

    He apologizes and quickly heads to his room, I look at the doorknob after my door is shut mostly and it closes on two mlp shirts. I thought, did I order these in the mail? Why didn't they arrive in a package? Why do they still have the laundry hook things? They bought this from a store for me?

    And some music plays similar to just one element of the sad Titanic song, but the song is singing forgiveness of the heart and only uses that one element of the song the whole time instead of shifting alot, when I skim through the song I can't find the specific part its like but I would need to listen to it all I guess, or perhaps my memory was biased cuz I didn't hear it in so long. When I was a kid I used to cry to music very easily.

    Anyways I began crying, and I was Rainbow Dash in the dream it was revealed at the last minute. I used to be Christian, and very strict on myself to avoid going to hell, years back. I feel like part of me might be ashamed, despite me knowing its illogical, and also probably me trying to control the dream elements in some manner.

    The ant and stuff is guilt for my room being a total mess and my mom yelling at me over it, and I avoid it as much as possible. The entire dream I am in my room, probably because I am on my computer 10+ hours a day every day.

    And I know why I was RainbowDash, and the ants are partly to blame fallout really. But also I used to do some pony hypnosis, and once I vividly dreampt I was little pip and I couldn't figure out if it was a dream or me waking up in character while hallucinating then going back to bed, but it has similar elements. A friendly radroach was under my bed and I tried to not touch the floor at all.

    But why its Rainbow Dash. Alot of my time I focus on fast complex games for the brain. Somewhat competitive. Also I did use the Rainbow Dash file before but I used alot of the files (even tho its recommended to not mix multiple personalities at once because it can cause a psychological condition called Emotional Kernel Panic)

    Anyways, I was obviously RD, like when she couldn't admit she liked the Daring Do books, I am obviously that way about MLP its not even funny. Also Dash is not confident. Studies show that gamers who feel confident in their skills emotionally are more likely to be bad, and vice versa, called the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect basically if you are skilled you BELIEVE you are not good enough to get more skilled. But that contradicts the effect of confidence during actual sports matches. Pressure would prevent you from succeeding, and you are more weak to it the more skilled you are potentially. Eventually if you are good, there are feedbacks, like in SC2 your ladder rank improving or you constantly winning if you are a pro-gamer. But with me I like focusing on games that would more than likely be objectively superior for the brain, but I do not know every game in existence so overlook quite a bit, and still somewhat lean towards certain styles of games more than others. I also enjoy games just to experience them sometimes tho.

    Everyone likes to think they are above average(except people who do recognize themselves as stupid, which may or may not be, but are just so aware of mistakes they probably feel stupid more than someone who ignores or never notices or recognizes their mistakes, idk, you know those people that say they are stupid? Is it secretly fitting this effect, or is it not? Idk), but some then say they are above average because its a measurable fact for some instances.

    And basically, all of this is moderated by a 'judge' in the brain. Mine is set to avoiding negatives, not seeking positives, so I was always more likely to be competitive. But my brother is frustrated how good I am in games, and gave up on the ability to do good. The effect apparently isn't always active, it could've even been a biased study, due to ignorant local demographics.

    Long story short tho the dream also could be about Stockholm syndrome. I can pick out some happenings in the days before that aids in explanation for this dream, because I know everything can be susceptible to deduction to form a greater understanding, especially what we initially think is not comprehendible.

    And the last part of the dream, the shirts bit caused me to cry with that song because it implies they would forgive me for being a brony. Like, I don't need to live in hiding anymore.

    To fully understand me tho. My brother randomly barging in the room is reminiscent of when he was crazy enough it ended up driving me literally crazy too before. Once he just barged in my room, shining a light on me robotically, I was scared and uncomfortable. He was asking if I was crying and insisted I was, when I was watching some funny youtube vids before youtube really was as popular as it currently is.

    I always had to hide. Brother was very... damaged from Christianity in regards to sexuality. I was similar but I lost it sooner.

    I don't believe in Christianity. It hurt my family. I see it perpetuating pain and ignorance. And ignorance is bliss. People don't need to try and deduce anything, when anything that mysterious they can assume god did it and how wonderful. Amazing. That's just putting ignorance on a pedestal. It harms people.

    America one of the most religious 1st world countries, has plenty of problems because of it, at all levels.

    But w/e.

    This is supposed to be about my dream, and you can see some of the elements better for my explanation. The 'judge' is because I was guilty about exploring my sexuality. I was very homophobic. I am basically straight and a bit bi-curious when it comes to non-irl stuff (you know, r34 n roleplay n etc).

    I don't like feeling guilt, I blame my parenting. Mom is highly subject to confirmation bias (I am an adult who still lives with their family) a lack of deduction really. She can be wrong she can be right, but theres no true metric to figure out. When she is wrong she is way off the mark usually. When she is right its usually more due to experience. And she is loud and likes complaining just for the sake of it. Like when I don't want the ant to bite me, I am avoidant. I should just smash the ant's brains in and say git off muh lawn lol. Its just an ant, why is there an infestation? Should've solved the problem sooner and got rid of it.

    I really need to get out more. Basically have 0 communication with anyone someone else in my family does not also communicate with, in meatspace anyways, online I am fine for being social enough.

    But also I feel if I become too assertive I'll effectively turn into my mom, just wrong and being an asshole cuz of boredom and assuming I am right more often instead of using deduction. Idk.

    Also she is Christian, very forgiving, but very judgemental. Not as much as other Christians that come to mind can be tho.

    Its hard for me to conclude anything because conclusions are often potentially wrong. But when I know I am right, I might consider contradictory facts, but I can be passionate about my stance because of the lack of knowledge others have that I have on certain subjects. Dealing with objectivity its harder to fall to the dunning kruger effect, that effect is honestly an emotional bias.

    I am frustrated that my mom is such a dictator sometimes, its not too excessive but it does bother me. Its why I am avoidant, and she says half the time she is just making shit up for fun. I always took it seriously, because its always presented seriously until I fight back.

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    Samimami ZaaZ
    Latest Entry

    The title is self explanatory, just ask me questions and I'll try to answer to the best of my abilities.
     


    giphy.gif

  9. I know i haven't talked about Wrestling for awhile, but this is something that is close to my heart.

    Yesterday, the greatest wrestling manager of all-time and one of the funniest and greatest commentators of all-time, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan has passed away at the age of 73. The way that he died are still unknown, but i rather want to talk about how he lived.

    Bobby Heenan was one of the most despised heels, in the first golden age of Wrestling in the WWE/WWF between the mid 80s and early 90s. He sometimes considered himself as the manager of champions, managing people like Mr.Perfect, King Kong Bundy, Haku and the legendary Andre the Giant who he managed at the legendary match between andre and Hogan at Wrestlemania 3. And during his stint in the AWA, he managed former AWA Champion Nick Bockwinkel.

    After taking a step back from managing, Heenan proved himself as not only a good, but also great commentator, together with his life long friend Gorilla Monsoon, who both for example commentated Ric Flairs Royal Rumble win in 1992, which is Heenans best commentary performance, fearing for Flairs win for a whole hours and almost having a heart attack.

    when WCW was trying to compete more and more with the WWE/WWF, they also brought Bobby Heenan on board, being the new full time commentator with Tony Schiavone and being joined mostly by either Larry Zbysko or "Iron" Mike Tenay.

    His last commentary was at Wrestlemania X-7 in 2001, where he returned to the WWE to call the gimmick battle royal with Mean Gene Okerlund, giving us a good sense of nostalgia and showing that Heenan still got it.

    The last few years of his life, he enjoyed his retirement, while also working with the WWE from time to time backstage.

    Here are some highlights from Bobby Heenans great career:

     

    Rest in Peace Bobby Heenan. I know that you're at a better place, being finally together with your friend Gorilla Monsoon. :(:)

  10. So that's the design of a probe in the show. It's a sub-light spacecraft with a solar sail. The design is inspired by the Pioneer probe anomaly(mysterious deceleration which eventually explained by uneven heat distribution). The Probe is painted black with a shinny silver disk shape heat radiator  around its rear end around a ion engine. It also installed with a solar sail with one side black and another side silver.

     

    probe 3.jpg

    probe 2.jpg

  11. Deltroz
    Latest Entry

     this is importANT

     

  12. nailedit_cov.thumb.png.9df6f257eb07c2e033f49807d76b0321.png

    Welp, I've decided to write another thing. As I believe I mentioned a while back (it's been a long time, hasn't it?), I would be writing reviews and the like for a few weeks because of all the new games and media that deserves to be bestowed the greatest honor, "My opinion". Now, I'm not exactly sure, but I doubt I've written anything in about two months. Why? I was on vacation and, if memory serves, I was too busy playing the new instant-classic, "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" on my brother's Nintendo Switch (I'm too poor to afford my own). Now, I'm not sure how regular I can post these entries, so bear with me; it's actually surprising I've even kept this blog up for so long (1 - 2 years?). Oh, and Legends of Equestria entry is coming next time so stay tuned for that :P

    The new Zelda, is not a new Zelda. It is a conglomerate of everything done RIGHT in the video game industry and shoved into a 60 dollar piece of plastic. It really is amazing how open-world companies like Bethesda have spent decades trying to master whatever it is that makes an open-world game significant; and here comes Nintendo, nailing it on the first try.

    I'm a crazy, suicidal person when it comes to video games. I've noticed this more and more as the years have gone by, mainly depicted by the number of times I've pushed through smokes in CS:GO and the pure and raw desire to destroy everything with the earliest items in any game (for BoTW, that would be Soup Ladle, which, in fact, I did deal the finishing blow on Ganon with). So when I discovered obtaining heart containers were completely optional after the release of "Ocarina of Time", I jumped on the chance to beat every Zelda game I could with minimal stats and, iconically, three hearts. It's a tedious task, but when you're as experienced as me, it quickly becomes a pleasurable obligation. 

    With three hearts, I managed to beat the game in a week with all of the map uncovered, all the divine beasts, all the memories, and no Master Sword (I discovered the devil statue a week later). After the credits, I discovered the game was still only 12% complete. It's a huge game with few flaws, all of which are excusable for the sake of the game being "too cool" for measly imperfection. The divine beasts were easy, but that was only after I discovered I had done the last one first. Regardless, at face value, it's clear Breath of the Wild, was never about beating the dungeons and defeating a final boss, but it just so happens the only way to progress in the game is to clear dungeons and defeat a giant boar, so that's a thing.

    During my vacation in the Carolinas, a news article went out that a player had created a multiplayer mod for BoTW on an emulated copy. I hadn't been in the emulation scene for quite some time and last I heard of it, 3DS emulation was still in the works, I had no idea Wii U emulation was actually functional. So yesterday, after a month (or two, you tell me), I decided to download a copy of BoTW for PC and see if my gutsy little machine could take the next-gen title running on old hardware. The download took an hour or two, installation even longer; and what did I get for my troubles? 2.72 FPS during gameplay, 15 in menus. Time well spent; I'll be archiving it for when the time comes.

     

    In the meantime, I've gotta get back to Legends of Equestria, I've got to write an entry about it. :P 

    -RealityPublishing

    P.s. Anyone in the Amareicas looking to form a party?

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    So I'm working on a novel. I'm also working on a video game. Both the novel and the video game share the same story, but are obviously going to be told through completely different mediums. Before I actually get to work on the game, I started to write a novel, that covers the first 1/3 of the story, to basically advertise the game. Sometime after I finish the game I have plans to continue the novel series as well, and finish it up. But right now, I'm fixated on book one, and I need someone or some people to possibly take a look at what I've got so far and provide advice.

    Technically speaking, this isn't my first novel. I started storywriting back in elementary school, but I have yet to write something original and engaging rather than book re-tellings of nostalgic video games I've played in the past. This is basically my first attempt at making a true piece of literature. The story I've been working on has been constantly revised and added upon for several years, and I haven't even managed to put it all into words yet. But now, I'm working to finally present it to the world. So far, I only have the prologue and first chapter down. 2500 words, and an average introduction. If anyone could give me their thoughts, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Some criticism I've already gotten was that the Prologue chapter lacked a defined perspective from any specific characters, making the chapter feel like it had no true point-of-view. The situation is different for chapter 1, but I did acknowledge the fact, anyways. The perspectiveless intro was semi-intentional, but if anyone still has a problem with it, I'll do my best to revise it soon.

    Word of warning: This story is actually kinda dark. That's an understatement, this story gets REALLY dark REALLY soon, at least in the prologue. It has blood, gore, and one or two small alcoholic references here and there, which is why I only recommend 18+ people to read this. Children and the faint of heart should read at their own risk.

    Advent of Elysium

    A WORLD OF BEASTS

    Written by Devon Flynn ("Redeye")

     

     

    THE BURDEN OF MAN

     

         The sky was a shade of ochre, not too bright, not too dark. The sun was slowly fading from view, with a small sliver just peeking its head above the horizon. Patches of dying grass and groups of multi-colored trees dotted the plains of Kingsdale. Towards the center of the plains, those small tree clutters began to merge and develop into a small patch of woods, peacefully sitting beside a fairly noticeable high hill. A small settlement the folks named “Southgrove” sat in the central thicket of the woods. From the top of Lord Hill, you could see the entirety of the village.

         About a dozen homes circled around the inner rim of the thicket, forming a cul de sac with a simplistic brick well in the center of it all. Directly next to the homes sat a handful of marketplaces, and a humble inn towards the end of the dirt road. Many of the townsfolk were scrambling to return to their homes for the evening. Parents were trying to find their children, who were busy playing around in the woods. Merchants hurried to gather all of their wares before the moon rose. Among the little display of chaos was a middle-aged woman and a young boy, most likely her child. The woman scowled as she hurried down the road, towards the local inn, with her kid in tow. The confused six-year-old briefly took a peek at the sky to see a murder of crows flying over the settlement. Their annoying caws echoed across the sky, encouraging the townspeople to make haste in their efforts to close up for the night.

         The child’s mother proceeded to throw the front door open to see a burly middle-aged man sitting at the tavern. He was wearing sweaty commoner’s clothing, and had a bottle of ale in hand. The man turned his head to look at her a few seconds after the door swung open.

         “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” the woman hissed, “It’s almost night-time, and we haven’t seen our daughter in hours!”

         “Don’t raise your voice, I’m workin’ on it …” the intoxicated man replied with a lazy voice.

         “‘Working on it?’ You’ve been busy chugging down beer all day, like the useless fool you are!”

         Across the desk, the bartender decided to head into the back, trying to ignore the heated conversation.

         “Oh, shuddup,” the father said, “I’m the only one who keeps this family runnin’, and you know it.”

         “Don’t change the subject!” she shouted, “They’re coming, and they’re gonna be here any minute now. The watchmen saw them charging in from the north!”

         The boy listened to his parents’ arguement. He could feel his heart pounding from the recent tension, yet he was unaware of the true danger at hand. The fact that his sister was apparently missing didn’t help the situation.

         Suddenly, a man’s blood-curdling scream emerged from the back of the inn. The family immediately turned their heads in horror. The gruesome sound of flesh being torn open could be heard soon after. The boy’s heart was racing faster than a speeding train, and his heavy breathing began to intensify. The father struggled to get up from his chair before slowly inching towards the door where the scream came from.

         Shards of wood immediately flew from the now-broken door, where a large wolf-like creature on its hind legs stood. Cries of horror flew out of the mother’s mouth as the werewolf pinned the father to the ground, sinking its teeth into his neck. The man cried out in pain as blood gushed out of his wound. Before he knew it, the ferocious beast tore his throat out, and devoured it whole. The boy could only look away as his father ceased to move.

         Soon after the man’s death, faint screams of terror were heard from outside, followed by the distorted moans of abhorrent Fiends. The mother quickly looked back at her husband’s corpse, when her heart skipped a beat. He was standing upright, as if he never died at all. His eyes were completely blank, but the woman could feel them staring into her soul. Black mist arose from his undead body. A few seconds later, another creature emerged from the hole in the wall. It was the headless, mutated corpse of the bartender, who now had jaundiced skin and malformed claws. A few seconds after that, the werewolf stood up, just having finished chomping at its meal. All three of them stared at the mother and her child.

         She quickly grabbed her child and ran, with her eyes wide open in fear. But before they could make it to the front door, they were tackled and overwhelmed by the beasts. Blood splattered across the walls as they were eaten alive.

     

         A man stood on the summit of Lord Hill, overlooking the horrific scene. He wore a grey trench coat over his commoner’s clothing. His slightly long, black hair nearly camouflaged the back of his head in the night sky, while his violet eyes glowed in the darkness. He wasn’t mortified by the massacre, instead it almost seemed as if he saw it coming. He was one of the few people in this world who understood the grim truth of mankind.

         He quietly watched as the Fiends slaughtered the townspeople one by one. Several homes began to burn, possibly due to stray lanterns and candles being knocked over during the chaos. The mix of horrified screams and abhorrent moans echoed throughout the woods.

         The man turned around and walked away from the massacre before anyone, or anything, could notice him. He understood the burden of man. The Fiends, malevolent beings born from malice and death, plagued the world of Dystopia. Those who die at the hands of a Fiend are transformed into one, themselves. For eons, they preyed on the weak, and scared the strong into their walls of safety. Wherever they go, doom follows close behind, for that is mankind’s curse.

     

    ROY

     

         Staring out into the open lake, Roy felt his usual sense of tranquility. The lake moved just like the ocean, with ripples and waves crashing against the shore. Just beyond the horizon, he saw the sun slowly rising from behind the mountains of Argenvale. The morning lake always kept him at peace.

         Roy inhaled the mildew surrounding him, letting it all out after a deep breath. It was just another typical day for him. He opened his eyes after his brief meditation, revealing his crimson irises. His short, pitch black hair barely moved with the incoming breeze, unlike his Saber tooth necklace, which was violently flailing in the wind. He readjusted his tanned leather jacket, which blended in with the color of the tree trunks sitting behind him.

         A familiar voice suddenly emerges from behind him, “Hey, Roy! What’re you doing out here?”

         Roy turned around to see Seth Iscariot, one of his childhood friends, standing behind him. He immediately noticed his slicked-back, almond-colored hair, and his icy blue eyes. Seth was wearing his usual everyday attire, a buttoned shirt under a fancy blue swordsman’s garb. He had a belt running along his waist, with a scabbard at his side that contained his trademarked sabre. His playful smirk tied his entire persona together.

         Roy replied, “Just taking in the scenery.”

         “You’ve been taking in the scenery a lot lately,” Seth remarked, “In an adventurous mood, I take it?”

         Roy smirked, looking back at the lake. It was no secret that he had a knack for adventure. He had always hoped that one day he could leave this village on his own, and traverse the vast world beyond the water. That opportunity was barely in his grasp, with his twenty-first birthday arriving in a few months. However, his training had to come first, or else he wouldn’t be prepared.

         “The Master’s waiting for us,” Seth said, “so we should probably get going.”

         “Alright, then,” Roy said as he leapt off the large boulder he was sitting on. His simple-tailored shoes collided silently with the verdant grass. The scabbard strapped to his back rattled during the impact. He owned a weapon as well, a hand-and-a-half sword he specifically named “Ember”.

         Leaving the shoreline, Roy and Seth walked back into the village of Lorelei, a humble farming town named after the lake it sat beside. Dragging himself along the dirt path, Roy greeted some of the familiar merchants that were at work.

         “Simon agreed to meeting up with us after training,” Seth reported, “we’re going on a little monster hunt, if that’s alright with you.”

         “Sure, I could use a little extra practice,” Roy replied, letting out a little stretch after his moment of relaxation.

         “They said it was some sort of plant-like creature as big as a shack, and that it takes the appearance of a sexy lady,” Seth joked.

         “You mean a Mandragora?”

         “Yeah, I think. I don’t know my Fiend types very well.”

         “And that’s why you have me,” Roy said, boastfully.

         The residential district of Lorelei was dense with oak trees. When noon came around, the sunlight that shined from the canopy created a beautiful display of green and gold. At the end of the dirt road, Roy and Seth came across a large building with two side houses attached to it. The building was made out of mahogany, and its main entrance held two seven-foot-tall doors. It was the Training Hall for swordsmen that they regularly practiced in.

         Roy placed his hand on one of the knobs, twisted it around, and pushed. The large building was layered with stained, unbroken windows. Straw training dummies and sword racks were neatly placed along the mahogany floor. At the end of the hall was another door that led to a stairwell leading up into the second floor.

         In front of the door was Mordred Achilles, Roy’s swordfighting master. He was busy meditating on a small, square rug, with his sheathed longsword laying on the floor in front of him. The old man had grey hair that reached down to his shoulders, and he had a full beard growing on his face. He wore a white martial artist’s robe that reached down to his ankles, and a black belt that wrapped around his waist. His pants were white as well.

         Roy looked at his Master in awe, as he always had for years. His mere presence inspired both fear and respect within others, even if he was in his most serene state. Stepping into the hall completely, Roy and Seth confronted their Master, and proceeded to sit on their knees in respect for his meditation.

         Mordred slowly opened his hazel eyes, “Twenty seven seconds late.”

         “Forgive us, Master!” the students apologized, lowering their heads in shame.

         “Stop apologizing, you blasted fools,” he retorted, “I swear, you two take me too seriously.”

         With a sighs of relief, Roy and Seth wiped the sweat off their faces. Crisis averted.

         Mordred rose from his meditation rug after grabbing his sword. Taking a few steps to the left wall, he dragged two of the training dummies to the center of the hall.

         “Today’s lesson will not be easy,” the Master informed them, “so we’ll begin with the fundamentals.”

     

         Bits and pieces of straw were scattered across the training hall. With three dummies torn to shreds, only one more remained. Roy stood in front of it, with his left arm out, and palm wide open. An orange light glowed around his hand.

         “Good,” Mordred acknowledged, “Concentrate on your palm, and allow your soul to give you strength. That is how magic is formed.”

         Seth and the master were standing behind Roy, observing his spellcasting lesson. Roy has been dabbling in the art of pyromancy, the magic of fire, for years. In order to create a flame, he needed a spark. Creating a spark without a flint and steel is a difficult obstacle to overcome, but magically producing one was an entirely different challenge. He focused on his inner being, channeling the force from within his soul in order to transmute it into magical energy. When the time was right, Roy snapped his fingers, excreting the energy from his body. Sparks flew from the tip of his index finger, shooting towards the dummy at incredible speeds. The sparks then reached the tip of the straw, igniting them. The ochre flames quickly spread across the dummy, until it was completely overwhelmed by the blaze, head to toe. Before the flames could spread farther, it was quickly extinguished by a sphere of water. Roy looked back to see that Mordred was the one who casted it.

         “Impressive, you seem to be getting better at this,” the master said, “But beware of your flames. Fire is the most unpredictable of the elements. You may try to save people with it, but you must know the consequences of letting it go out of control.”

         Roy turned around to face him and bowed, “Thank you, Master Mordred.”

         He glanced back at the dummy. The once-beige straw was now charred black. A mixture of smoke and vapor rose from its head. Roy was almost surprised at how perfect it was. To him, it felt like dumb luck.

         Catching his breath after a long, rigorous training session, Roy turned to Seth and boastfully smirked. His friend rolled his eyes in response.

         “Don’t relax just yet,” Mordred cut in, “There’s more to come. I expect to see you two back here in a few hours.”

         A sense of disappointment overcame Roy and Seth, but nonetheless, they obliged. Saying their farewells, they stepped out of the hall, and noticed the beams of sunlight emanating from the trees.

         On the side of one of the trees sat a short young man with his face buried in a book. He was an elf, as one could notice by taking a gander at his pointed ears and jade-colored hair. Elves were always known for their unnatural hair colors, but other than that, they closely resembled humans in every other way. Readjusting his rectangular glasses, the elf noticed Roy and Seth strolling towards him. He was Simon Vortigern, another one of Roy’s close friends.

         “There you are! I’ve been wondering how long it would take you to finish,” Simon remarked.

         “Good to see you, too, Simon,” Roy sarcastically replied.

         The three friends chuckled for a brief moment. Afterwards, they went ahead and strolled back towards the marketplace, until Roy felt a light grumble emerging from his stomach.

         “Mind if we grab a bite to eat before we go hunting?” he asked, slightly embarrassed.

         “Not at all, where to?” Simon inquired.

         “Vashi’s food cart, obviously,” Seth pitched in. He knew about Roy’s undying love for spicy curry. It’s no wonder why he desired to eat there at every opportunity.

         Roy only smirked, acknowledging his friend’s insightfulness. All three of them joked around as they strutted towards the food court.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    So this is all I have so far. Damn this forum for not allowing the Tab key to perform its intended purpose! Right now, I'm kind of happy how the first chapter turned out, but for some reason I don't have much confidence in my dialogue. I just feel weird whenever I write it, like I'm unknowingly doing something wrong. But anyways, thanks for reading. Hopefully I can get some good criticism from this.

  13. Justin_Case001
    Latest Entry

    I'd like to talk for a few minutes about adult gamers, and the surprising mindset still lingering in a few people today that video games are but a child's toy that a mature adult has no business playing.  Considering where I am at the moment, the MLP forums, I'd be willing to make a deal to eat my computer if there's a single person on these forums who harbors this opinion, however, this opinion is still floating around in the world.  There are still those who hear about an adult who plays video games, shake their heads, and says, "Ugh.  How can a grown man/woman waste their time with children's toys?  Grow up."

    I recently watched a old video by Boogie2988 about this very subject.  I'm sure many of you are familiar with him.  Here's the video if you're interested.  It's old, but not old enough to be irrelevant by any means.  The following story is basically a response to that video, and a story you can tell if you ever meet someone who says games are just for kids.

    I am 31.  I have been a die hard gamer for my entire life.  I started gaming practically before I could walk.  About five or so years ago, my mom got into gaming.  She would have been....~57 at the time.  She had her first taste of video games, as many older folks have, with Wii Sports.  She has never been interested in gaming before.  She never gave it much thought.  It didn't seem to her like something she'd be interested in, or indeed able to do.  It was a young person's thing.  But she was instantly intrigued by the Wii Sports.  (And props to Nintendo, here; they were really ingenious with Wii Sports, and the Wii in general.  It attracted so many people outside of the regular demographic.  They expanded their market so much.  It really was a smart move, and a brilliant business model.)  So, my mom asked if she could try it, and I did it with her, and to all of our surprise, she loved it.  She asked me to play it with her all the time, and I gladly made time to do so, even though I wasn't all that interested, to be honest.  I'd rather play Final Fantasy, or Skyrim, or Halo or something. 

    After awhile, my mom wanted more, and became curious about what she could do.  I took it upon myself to become a gaming mentor to her, and to try to expand her horizons.  We bought some simple Wii games to get her started.  She loves CSI and Project Runway, so we got the Wii games of those.  Little more than animated menus, these games can hardly be called games.  They are rudimentary point and click apps that would be best suited to a phone.  (Indeed, I have mobile app games that are more robust than those.)  She devoured these quickly and was hungry for more.  We graduated to some more substantial games, and got her Final Fantasy: Chocobo's Dungeon, Epic Mickey, and Disney Universe.  She loved them.  I mean, she absolutely loved them.  She was just madly in love with Epic Mickey and Chocobo.  She played them non-stop.  She had a lot of trouble along the way, but I helped her every step of the way.  She then had her first experience with a sh*tty game, which every gamer has to square with at some point..  She tried Cursed Mountain on Wii.  When she got stuck, and I tried to help, and I can attest to the fact that that game was definitely sh*t.  She resold it back to the used game place. 

    She played a few other simple Wii games after that, but she quickly started running out of options.  Her needs were growing a bit specific: she needed a real, robust game with enough challenge to be interesting, but not so hard as to become a roadblock when she runs into a boss she can't handle.  After all, she was very new at this.  A small fish in a small pond.  I tried to think of what would fit the bill.  I did some research, watched tons of Wii reviews.  Nothing where the game would stop if she can't beat a boss.  No God of War games.  That wouldn't do.  She needed freedom.  I had a wild idea, and I decided to pitch it out of the blue one day.  After helping her with something on Mickey, I said, "So, mom, would you like to learn how to play Skyrim?"  She was surprised, a little hesitant, but then said, "Yeah.  Absolutely."  And so, we undertook the epic journey.  I had already mastered Skyrim inside and out, so I would be her guide and mentor.  I gave her semi-formal lessons.  I even formulated a bit of a curriculum in my head before-hand.  We would sort of alternate between lessons on smithing, enchanting, perk constellations and all that stuff, and hands-on combat training.  She did amazingly well.  Over the months, I watched her grow from bumbling around like an idiot, getting stuck in a corner and helplessly spinning in a circle while looking at the floor, to playing completely proficiently, crafting dual-enchanted Daedric armor, killing Alduin, getting stealth kills, riding her horse, and using an infinite alteration set to hold a piece of fruit with telekinesis to level grind.  Oh, she was no pro-gamer by any means, and certainly could not survive Legendary difficulty, but she was absolutely proficient.  She LOVED it.  So much.  She had the most fun she's had in years.  She was blown away by how much she loved it.  She did everything.  Every quest, every house, every thane task, every misc objective.  Everything.  She milked Skyrim for every drop it was worth, and she wanted more.

    I recently picked out a new game for her.  It was a bold choice, and I wasn't sure how it would work out, but my instincts told me she'd love it.  Red Dead Redemption.  Now, here's the odd thing--I've never played Red Dead.  (Yes, yes, I know--crucify me, right here and now.)  I own it for PS3, but I've never played it.  It's sitting, along with many other great titles (Last of Us, for one) in my to-play stack.  The only reason I haven't gotten to it is simply time constraints.  I'm just too busy, and I tend to put more of a priority on the multiplayer games that my friends are into on Steam.  But I'm a GTA 4 veteran, and I knew Red Dead would be similar, and I knew enough about it that I knew I could trust the game and the developer.  So we bought it for her on 360.  She knew I had never played it, so she knew she would be sailing into uncharted (yes, that's in my to-play stack also) waters.  She wasn't in the small pond anymore.  She was in the middle of the f*cking ocean.  I gave her the Celestia-type speech: "I'll still be here to help and guide you, but this is your game now, and you must rely on yourself now.  Remember everything I've taught you."  I am immensely proud of her.  It's amazing.  So little experience, such a newbie, such a green gamer, and she is handling herself remarkably well.  Sure, she dies a lot, and combat is tough at times, but she plays that game.  I mean, she plays the hell out of it.  She completes missions, kills the bandits, rides horses, plays mini-games, collects money, harvests resources, hunts animals, explores the world.  She really does it, and all on her own, and she f*cking LOVES it.  She is so excited to play it.  She never imagined that she'd enjoy shooting bandits and hunting game in the wild west; it's so far removed from the norm of her life, but she absolutely f*cking LOVES it.  Just loves it.

    Gaming has become a fantastic new hobby for my mom.  Her life was getting a little...shall we say...routine, and gaming has given her so much new fun and excitement.  And there's no question that it's sharpening her mind and dexterity as well.  And she's even playing Final Fantasy VI from the Wii virtual store on the side!  And you know what she loves almost more than gaming?  Telling people she's a gamer!  She doesn't go around broadcasting it or anything, but when it comes up naturally, she gets such a big kick out telling people, and she just loves their total shock that an older woman plays f*ckin' Skyrim, Final Fantasy, and Red Dead.  It just tickles her to death.  She is extremely proud of her hobby, and I'm so happy for her.

    My mother is 62 years old, and she plays the hell out f*cking RED DEAD REDEMPTION, and loves it.  Games are for everyone.  That's all I have to say.

  14. Role-playing games are a genre of video games I have never really been able to get into(trust me...I have tried). That goes for both Western and Japanese RPGs. I can literally count on my hands the number of RPGs I have played and beaten over the years. Anyway, let's get started.

    1. Super Mario RPG - I remember playing this game for the first time and being really confused by the gameplay. I think this was my first time experiencing a RPG.

    2. Pokemon Blue - Believe it or not, this is one of the only Pokemon games I have ever beaten. I played the heck out of this game. To this day I have never felt any interest in playing a Pokemon game ever again.

    3. Grandia 2 - I remember playing this game on the Dreamcast. Definitely, one of my favorite RPGs. Although, the story itself is pretty average the battle system is where this game really shines. I have played it twice; once on the Dreamcast and then later on the PS2(it's worth noting that the PS2 port is pretty terrible). It was released on Steam awhile back if you are interested in checking it out.

    4. Final Fantasy X/X-2 - I am actually kind of surprised I beat both of these games. I probably wouldn't ever play these game ever again.

    5. Jeanne D'arc - I think this was one of the best games I played on the PSP. People would probably argue that Final Fantasy Tactics is the better game, but I liked how simple the game was to get into. 

    An honorable mention goes to Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath. Those games were both a lot of fun as well. They play a lot like Diablo 3 if you have never played them before.

  15. For those who don't know about pokemon trading, its the process of trading a certain amount of pokemon for another certain amount of pokemon. Simple enough, right?

    so, I'm trying to trade my max level Salamance (in the game I play, level 80 is the max level). And people have offered me various pokemon in exchange for it. And here is where the problems begin.

    1. "The silent trader" People don't tell me what they want. They send me a trade, I accept. They place a pokemon, I ask who they want, and they stare at it for a few seconds, I offer a few pokemon, and he just left. I am incapable of reading minds. You need to tell me what you want, or if you don't want anything, just say "I'm good." You're wasting my time, my friends time, and the time of anyone else that wants to trade with me.

    2. "Its rare!" Anyone who follows me would know of the status update where I said I could care less about rarity. (Meaning how often you encounter a certain pokemon. If it has a lower encounter rate, its considered rarer). He tried to offer me a lvl 30 shiny for it, and he said its really rare. Rarity doesn't mean garbage if its just gonna get one shotted by the gym leaders butterfree. Rarity doesn't mean anything to me, I'm not a collector, I'm a fighter.

    3. "I activate my spell card, pot of greed!" I only noticed recently how greedy some people are. Even if it's a a level I like, they want a substantial amount of pokemon for it. I tried to trade for a mew at one point, and the dude wanted four of my pokemon for it. I'm sorry,that's not happening! 

    i ha e managed to get little to no success on trading the past few days. I did get a luxray and a volcanion, but the tree has only bore that much fruit for me.

    in conclusion, trading is fun, but frustrating. 

     

  16. On the 7th of this month, Bohemia Interactive released the sixth premium DLC package for ArmA 3, titled "Laws of War".  Renowned as being the most committed military operation simulator, the reaction from the fanbase was mostly positive at the addition of a humanitarian faction whose goal is to clean up the detritus of war and bring some semblance of a normal life back to war-torn regions.  On top of that, with an MSRP of $11.99 USD, Bohemia is donating half of all sales to the International Committee of the Red Cross.  With everything said, I had to buy it the moment it came out!

    Although there was a free update that added all the new content to your harddrive, the DLC vehicles, attire, weapons, and campaign were locked behind a paywall.  However, Bohemia did at least provide us with two free showcases, one of which was an exposition of all the new content and a background on the new faction, IDAP (the International Development & Aid Project), and the other was a much more action-oriented seminar where players are run through various simulations to impress the laws of war upon you.  Some examples of lessons taught in the seminar included not firing on civilians who haven't engaged you in combat or unarmed enemy medical personnel. There was also a demonstration on how mines and cluster bombs can be more trouble than they're worth, staying hidden in the ground for days, months, or even years at a time until someone, anyone, accidentally disturbs it.

    Of the new content that was added in the DLC, the campaign will be explained later.  Several new civilian, press, and IDAP-themed outfits and clothing articles were added, such as a paramedic jumpsuit, hard hat, dust mask, and safety goggles.  Decorative items were also added, such as IDAP tents, water bottles, body bags, etc.  The new vehicles include an IDAP van, ambulance, new IDAP skins for the formerly AAF-only Mohawk heavy transport helicopter and CSAT-only Zamak transport truck, and a special utility drone capable of dropping leaflets (which can have custom designs overlayed on them) as well as timed charges for safer disposal of mines and UXOs (UneXploded Ordinance).  Speaking of mine-clearing, the mine sweeper that was already in the game was reworked, giving you a new display that shows you the direction of mines and UXOs, allowing you to mark them manually rather than the original mechanic, where the mine sweeper did all of that automatically.

    However, just because this DLC focused on the civilian and humanitarian aspects of war doesn't mean that the military factions didn't get anything.  All organized military factions (so everyone but the FIA) get the APERS Mine Dispenser and the cluster bomb air strike utility.  The former item is a portable device that deploys dozens of small Anti-PERSonnel mines in a forward-facing cone after either a 40-second timer or a manual touch-off, allowing players to set up minefields in a fraction of the time that it would have taken them to do so manually.  The latter allows for Zeus operators (think Game Masters for organized ArmA 3 custom operations) to call in highly-destructive air strikes, with the very-obvious downside that not all of the cluster munitions will explode.

    As for the campaign, I'll do my best to explain the nuances of it without spoiling it.  For those who don't mind the spoilers, I'll be putting them down at the bottom of the page, but keep in mind that there will be some spoilers for the main ArmA 3 campaign, as well.

    "Laws of War" takes place in the small town of Oreokastro in the mountainous northwest of Altis before, during, and after the events of the vanilla campaign.  For most of the mini-campaign, you take on the role of Nathan MacDade, a former US Army engineer now working as an IDAP mine clearer.  As you progress through the town, clearing out mines and UXOs, you encounter "memories", which take on the form of visual anomalies that you can interact with.  Interacting with them either transports you into a flashback of what you remember the town was like one year ago, or into the shoes of a member of one of the four warring factions (NATO, FIA, CSAT, or AAF), all of whom were present during the battle in one way or another.

    The take-away message from this mini-campaign is that there is no such thing as black and white in war.  From the opening scene, when you watch, helpless, as a civilian who survived the war and returns to his hometown in search of his brother steps on a mine and dies instantly, to the end, when you're put on the spot and asked to tell a reporter who you think is to blame, you're led to the understanding that war is complex and that when you send young men and women off to kill each other, they don't always make the right choice.  No matter how good your intentions are, just because you aren't butchering civilians and laughing while doing it doesn't mean that your actions aren't having adverse effects on the non-combatants whose peace of mind is now shattered.  If you're looking for honor and glory, you'll find none of it in war.

    For those of you who are on the fence about buying "Laws of War", I cannot recommend it enough.  While about 60% of it can be classified as a walking simulator, it provides a whole new perspective on war that's rarely seen outside of games such as "This War of Mine".  To quote one of Nathan MacDade's most profound lines (as well as the slogan for the game, overall): "This is war."

    Spoiler

    During the campaign, the main point (as I mentioned above) is that all of the factions contributed to the destruction of the town of Oreokastro.  Below are all the "sins" that each side committed:

    USA/NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization): Despite serving a peacekeeping mandate in Altis, American and NATO forces really put in a lackluster effort to prevent further violence between the AAF and FIA.  The most they did was airdrop humanitarian aid and deploy liaisons to advise the AAF to stop shelling their own goddamn people.  On top of that, the NATO invasion of Altis and Stratis near the end of the vanilla campaign further devastated the already war-torn nation, resulting in even more civilian casualties.

    FIA (Freedom and Independence Army): The citizens of Oreokastro had long been outspoken critics of the military junta that took over their government four years ago, and frequently offered supplies to the guerillas who fought them.  In spite of this, however, some cells of the FIA were just as brutal as the government forces they fought, not only attacking AAF checkpoints in order to sabotage peace talks, but also attacking NATO liaisons accompanied by AAF soldiers attempting to retrieve humanitarian aid.  On top of that, they encouraged the Oreokastrans to take up arms and resist, making their town and its citizens a target for retaliation.  When preparing the town for the AAF attack that was to come, the FIA had requisitioned civilian vehicles without their owners' consent, including an IDAP ambulance.  On top of that, they placed APERS (Anti-PERSonnel) mines right next to AT (Anti-Tank) mines, making the demining process that much more time-consuming/dangerous.

    Iran/CSAT (Canton-protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty): After multiple assaults by the AAF failed to take Oreokastro, CSAT took advantage of the tense situation and offered their services in an attempt to curry favor with the Altis government.  A small fireteam of spec ops parachuted near the castle that overlooked the town, killed the FIA garrison one by one, and proceeded to use their superior position to call in a laser-guided cluster bomb on Oreokastro.  Dozens of insurgents and civilians were killed in the air strike, including an IDAP doctor who had stayed behind to care for the wounded.  Due to the lack of any shell casings save those in NATO mil-spec, as well as the only living witness being a simple goatherd, there are doubts that CSAT was even present.

    AAF (Altis Armed Forces): Previously, the AAF has had plenty of blood on its hands.  Following the coup d'etat that put him in power, Colonel Akhanteros had used the AAF to keep the people in line through fear and repression.  The more outspoken critics of his regime were hauled off in the backs of government vans, and those towns who gave shelter to or aided the FIA in any way could expect harsh retaliation.  Many months after the siege of Oreokastro and during the NATO invasion, an AAF major and his adjutant had been chased into the local church and had deployed APERS Mine Dispensers.  Following the firefight, NATO and FIA wounded were executed (Optional).  It was those same mines planted at the church that would kill the civilian from the opening who was looking for his brother.

     

    So...who's to blame for the lives lost at Oreokastro?

     

    arma3_dlc_lawsofwar_artwork.jpg

  17. 1531412__safe_artist-colon-stormblaze-da

    So, as probably many of you have noticed by now, is that my hypnotizing Lamia OC, is also a Doctor. He is a Doctor, because i also wanted him to be like a productive pony instead of just being a normal hypnotizing lamiapone like other lamiapones are and he is a doctor because i myself have an interest in Medicine and even owning a stethoscope, which is like the symbol for a modern Doctor.

    But there have also been some people who asked me "Mesme, why don't become a Doctor? You obviously have a knowledge in this kinda field and you would probably do good." Well, it's true that i have a certain knowledge in that field and i have learned how to make steth checkups, there are just alot of things that you have to take into consideration.

    First of all, becoming a Doctor takes years of hard studying and you have to sacrifice alot of your private time to achieve this goal. The thing is, i don't really like the thought of sacrificing this time and i feel like this would at somepoint lead to a breakdown by me, because the studying becomes way too much and i don't want to lose my friends because of it.

    The other thing is, even if i do become a Doctor, it's not going to be an easy Job/Life. I thought to maybe be a cardiologist or maybe a pediatrician. Cardiologist, because the heart interests me the most and pediatrician because i can imagine working with kids could be fulfilling. But what if i have a very ill patient, whose life is on the line? As a cardiologist, you face that alot, because the heart is the most important organ and deadly sick children would be even harder, because it would probably break my heart way too much and i would just feel incredibly helpless that i can't prevent it.

    Basically, while it could be fun in theory, i think it would eat me up after awhile because i just care too much for these people.

    Hope i didn't put you guys down too much, but i felt like i had to say this.

  18. One of America's last surviving multipurpose arenas from the cookie cutter era is nearing the end of a long, remarkable run.  Making its debut in 1961, DC Stadium was home to the NFL's Washington Redskins and Major League Baseball's Washington Senators.  It was renamed in honor of Robert F. Kennedy in 1969 after he was assassinated while running for president.  In 1972 the Senators moved to Arlington, TX and became the Rangers.  But it was Washington's NFL team that had the longest and most successful tenure at RFK.  Between 1982 and 1991, they won three Super Bowls.  Then in 1996, the Redskins moved to the brand new FedEx Field in nearby Landover, MD. For almost a decade, only minor league teams would call RFK home.  

    That changed in 2005 when Major League Baseball returned to Washington. However, RFK was only to be a temporary home through 2007.  Their long term ballpark opened in 2008.  I made my only visit to RFK Stadium in 2007 to watch the Phillies take on the Nationals.  It was as big and impressive, if aged, as I was expecting.  Moreover, it was strange to be in a cookie cutter stadium that outlived the one in my hometown. Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium had a much shorter lifespan from 1971 until it was imploded in 2005.  

    Since the Nationals left, RFK's primary occupant has been Major League Soccer's DC United.  The venerable structure has worked well enough for a time but advanced deterioration is now taking its toll. Furthermore, almost every other MLS team plays in a soccer specific stadium.  After a number of false starts, the United will finally get a new stadium of their own in the 2018 season.

    Here's a brief overview of RFK's history.

    And here is a news report from 2014 that shows just how RFK is falling apart.  

    To follow up on my previous blog, the Schuylkill Mall closed its doors at the end of business on August 31.  The attached movie theater will continue to operate until the end of the year.