The Number of the Beast

How did the last four days go? As it happens, not bad at all.

Valheim’s overriding hook, for me at least, is that I’m the one in charge. Animal Crossing got frustrating because you’re constantly chasing an aesthetic that someone else dictates, and with the best will in the world you need some peril, after a while. Just collecting stuff gets boring, trust me I know. This game has just enough toolkit to keep it interesting, will kill you if you don’t pay attention, and doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. It’s effectively Minecraft as Purgatory: I hope Hell does look as good as this because the sunrises and sunsets are fucking breathtaking.

As I’m no longer a games journo there won’t be any Guides either, this is happening as a way to untangle my brain in a period of very high stress. Suffering some very unfortunate fatalities is a reminder this morning that the second major boss isn’t happening for quite some time, until there’s far better armour, consumables and lots more practice. However, as a displacement activity, with player housing and combat, it is pretty much perfect, and I suspect those people playing this in PvP will be having a whale of a time.

I need to build a Raft as a matter of some urgency…

If I Had a Heart

Today I should be writing something here, but all my creativity has been thrown into two Patreon videos. The Best Man’s funeral is set for this time next week and I’m still really angry. I cannot find the enthusiasm to do strength workouts at all because I want to be doing them in the Gym and not stuck at home. Right now, there is a lot of frustration and discontent quite close to the surface, and the last time this happened I snapped and it wasn’t pleasant, so here we are knowing there’s a problem and working out how to solve it.

My PC isn’t near smart or powerful enough to run Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, even though I’d love to so this (recommended by a friend on Steam for a fraction of the price) looks like a good alternative. This weekend therefore I will find some time to just sit and allow myself the opportunity to unwind. Work is great and everything, but honestly there comes a point where you don’t want to, and exercise becomes all well and good, but it won’t pull apart the knots in your psyche nearly as well as learning a new gameplay system.

I’ll let you know how I get on.


I knew who this was. I’d upset him somewhere else and so this was his revenge. I have an email from him as well, desperately trying to get me to be ‘friends’ again, telling me he’d been undergoing mental health counselling and that was why he’d been so awful. If you truly think this shit will work, you came to the wrong woman.

This person’s still on Warcraft twitter, like that guy who I also have an email from, and that girl who decided to be an enabler… because people are fucking stupid, and all that matters is them. I am, AND NEVER WILL BE people, and that’s why people get upset when I shut them down and won’t be their friend online.

The fact that I won’t be your friend is a good thing.

I’m not asking you to be a professional, there are not rules to be followed but honestly, being an adult is a good start. Also, if you won’t respect my boundaries when they are laid down, that’s a red flag and a half. There are many, superb reasons why people don’t get in my DM’s any more: yes, I will bite your hand off. I’m not here to fulfil your fantasies or empower your progress up the ladder.

I’m here to work. Twitter is where I get my ideas. I use what other people say and over time it distils into everything that’s written or produced. So, you don’t shit where you work, that’s the rule here. I’m in a happy, loving relationship and will never need anything as extras. All you people letting your sexual emotions rule the Tweet button? NOPE.

However, I should warn you. I am quite angry right now.

Last night I recalled a conversation between the person who cured me of my belief that if you spoke to people on Twitter, they must be your friends. This person who had edited my work for a couple of years, suddenly filling my DM’s with the assertion that I was stepping on them to be more famous. All this was instigated by a pretty famous streamer, as I recall, someone whose shitty behaviour got him a decent gig in the end.

Most of my dirt was never screenshotted, which I regret. If your faves are being this mean and cruel to me, there will be others. There always are. Even if you play it as part of the ‘brand’, the truth is that if you’re unable to respect someone else’s attitude or approach to the thing you do, and you consider that as being either wrong or bad because yours is the right way? PART OF THE PROBLEM.

This won’t be the last time there’s a reckoning over bad behaviour, that’s for sure. If you have anything to hide in a position of power, the truth comes for everybody eventually.

It’s how you deal with it when it does that matters most of all.

Living on an Island

I have a house on a virtual island, that for a couple of hours each day I slowly update. I regularly contribute fish, insects and fossils to the local Museum. I’ve helped encourage new people to settle. I’ve been building fences, and today I bought a sink unit for my home. It is all unbelievably relaxing and enjoyable, and absolutely nobody’s going to criticise my life choices, except my 15 year old. I’m used to her by now.

Really, this is the relaxation I’ve been looking for over the last week.

I haven’t forgotten about Pokemon, but it’s been a week now since I walked further than the back of the garden. I might be in range of the nearest Pokestop when doing that, but will have to check later when it’s not hailing outside ^^ Once that’s back in synch, all my gaming needs should be adequately covered. It is a massive step forward for me, believe it or not, to have been able to find new ways to relax like this.

There was an enormous temptation to go back to a game in which I have invested literally years of my life. However, yesterday, the book I used to use to keep my lists of things to do for that game was thrown away for good. The final straw for me yesterday was hearing that there’s talk of further breaking down that game into pieces, effectively negating years worth of playtime when the content was new.

I would have written about it at length before. Now, it’s not worth the effort.

I can’t blame them for wanting to try anything possible to keep their customers. All the things I ever wanted from that game are in AC:NH now anyway: truly customizable items and housing, no need to beat anyone else or win at anything other than my pace. In the end, as my husband occasionally likes to remind, you need to be the one defining what constitutes the end.

It’s ironic of course that we’re living in the virtual world where gaming has become a lifeline for many. It’s the ultimate in distancing, yet at the same time allowing you to feel social. That’s not the half of it: when you’ve hidden somewhere for years because reality is a tough ask, that last thing that’s really helpful is to return to that state. It’s why playtime is being strictly limited. Priorities have altered.

The real world, even now, is more attractive than escaping back to gaming long-term.

I Love You

If you spend more than an hour on Social media a day it will be impossible to ignore the stupidity around Fandom at any given moment.ย I follow a number of people for whom the observation of other people’s obsessive desires and interests is not only a lifestyle choice, but a full-time career. It is hard to escape the gravity of negativity in any aspect of current existence, but when it emanates from stuff that’s supposed to be enjoyment and relaxation?

Except, with the smallest of shifts of perception, one can see all of this as just another attempt not only for all of us feel we belong, but to self-promote in an increasingly open and understanding environment. Not every meme is toxic, or perhaps a flimsy disguise in which you’re prompted to share personal data that might also double as password information.ย  Just don’t get me started on potential facial recognition scams, okay?

We all want to belong, let’s be honest. That’s all of this online stuff’s about, when you get down to the details. If you don’t need the benefit of a massive virtual following not doing Social media‘s hardly a reach. I can look at many people for whom that desire simply never existed, or those who’ve shunned the practice because privacy means nope, you don’t get to know anything at all.

In the modern world, of course, it shouldn’t take much to find out everything about someone if you really want to, and if you’ve ever been unlucky enough to be stalked online, you’ll know just how hard it is to remain truly anonymous. That’s where fandom’s truly insidious underside can become not just frightening but life changing… but for every negative, you can offset the damage.

I remember that fan who married one of her idols…


You get to know over time the people to trust, then avoid.ย Someone from an old fandom haunt appeared out of the blue late last year, still hugely dedicated to his cause, still happily living the life they were decades previously… and this is why changes in orbit can end up so potentially damaging. The good people rationalise, are adult and move on. It’s the people who won’t change, can’t alter their outlooks that become the unknown quantities.

I’m in a particular fandom right now where people are split down the middle, thanks to the main protagonist in their fictional lives having assumed a new gender. There’s an indignity for some right now that a man they respected has become a highly attractive woman. There’s psychology at play that is difficult to reconcile, and this TV show is becoming an unexpected test bed for what happens when you stop giving all the best roles to white men.

Who knew so many people were that sensitive to change?

Let’s be honest, you’d need to be from another fucking planet not to grasp how some parts of society are woefully unprepared for what’s coming. We need more common sense, and far less stupidity, and if you resent actresses and people of colour in traditionally white male roles? You are part of the problem.ย Don’t worry, give it ten years and there’ll be no planet left for you to complain about… ^^

Maybe what needs to happen now is change, and not resistance.

Better Living Through Chemistry

Let us begin this week correctly.

This has been an earworm since my husband left hospital, so putting it here (hopefully) might finally release the pain of repetition, though I doubt it. There is a phenomenal amount of Real Life Gubbins to achieve today, and I have the uncomfortable feeling my PC hard drive is close to failure. As a result, this morning will also be spent ensuring I have a backup of everything important somewhere else.

After that? New calendars on the wall, new goals to achieve. A major collection from last year gets a re-write. I’m going to start a new one. There’s a plan for NaNoWriMo that this year I may actually be able to stick to along with everything else, if the planning will support it. That’s the key, in all of this. Proper organisation will win the day, it just has to start now and be executed thoroughly.

I think that means I’m gonna stop playing games again for a while.


I came back before the holiday to play Warcraft which I’d not touched since before Christmas. Now I’ll admit that the urge to log on every day is rapidly diminishing, mostly because of the effort required to get what I want. There are no quick fixes any more, of course you have to work, and that time is better used doing other stuff.ย The next iteration of the game will be announced next month, and then we’ll see where we are.

Until then, what matters more than online satisfaction is real life progress.


I am one of many adults who enjoy PokemonGo as a mobile game. It served a useful purpose as coping strategy and relaxation up until I started having mental issues back in January, and the cessation of playtime roughly coincided with my acceptance of needing help and the subsequent counselling. That means I’m now back in the saddle: yes I spent 10 quid to update my wardrobe and buy some useful items.

Assuming that the release of the Harry Potter game will have altered this game world a bit, there are now far more Gyms and Pokestops in this area than was previously the case. It will hopefully make my task of catching up that bit easier, especially as I can legitimately combine step counts with research.ย I’ve become very good at grinding video game progression over the years. This is no different.


Doing things that make me happy is a GOOD THING.ย That’s a part of my equation that has been missing for a while. When you’ve gamed for forty years plus, knowing that you’re most content when it’s doing summat like this is an important acknowledgement. There is no shame or fear in being the person who plays games to relax. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have some eggs to hatch… :D


I wrote a list yesterday, of things that had to be done before there was permission to slack, and by 4pm, it was done. No, it wasn’t EVERYTHING, and last night I didn’t do two things that were on the list but which I never got to. Instead, it was a much loved game that got played, though through half a dozen restarts I could not generate a map that was decent enough to save and keep. Last night was learning the ins and outs of a title I’ve owned since launch but never really got to grips with. All that’s now staring to change.

I’m a painfully slow learner.

Sid Meier's Civilization  Beyond Earth Screenshot 2019.01.14 -

I’ll be writing more about this on my gaming blog, once the current deadline piece is sorted, but the backlog of titles I possess is significant and needs addressing. There’s also a ton of ‘classic’ games that deserve my time and effort, but relaxation is often shoved to the bottom of the To Do list. Last night, what was needed was time to just faff about, in between sorting out washing and doing chores. Once upon a time, Warcraft would have been the backdrop. Now, building my own civilisation is far more attractive.

Yes, I am moving forward.


DAY 3:ย I’m aย  recovering addict, trying my best not to sound like an evangelist. It’s a tough ask, some days, especially when the weight of evidence shows how gullible I was. Companies are to blame for feeding addiction, and in due course one can only hope common sense will prevail… but don’t bet on that. However, if as individuals we are unable to discern truth in our own shortcomings and failings, all is lost.

This, in a certain light, utterly is confirmation bias at work. Someone else (as a result of my flagrant disregard of The Community) is already indignantly decrying this attack on freedom of choice, and that’s absolutely fine. However, if you continue to throw money at companies whose entire modus operandi is to get you to do just that, stop complaining they don’t cater to your tastes. That’s when you take your money away and go elsewhere. No really, that’s how it should work.

If it doesn’t…? Who has the problem here, exactly?

I do love my gaming friends. Some have moved on, others staunchly remain wedded to their MMO’s of choice and all of them wear gaming as a badge of honour. It is how you know if someone’s gonna grasp your point of view or not: meeting gamers makes a ton of metaphors applicable in any conversation. It’s the difference between awkward and relaxed, almost instantly.

Currently I have a History of the Internetย poetry collection under submission and once it is summarily rejected (because half the references will be lost on people judging) I will go about getting it published myself.ย This is what I am. Like it or not, good or bad, there is never the means to separate gamer from woman. It’s why indignation rises over cheap stereotyping, that this same stupid, pointless rhetoric hasn’t gone away for the 40 years I’ve played.

This whole ridiculous argument isn’t about women being good at games, it’s about women being good at ANYTHING and part of me wants that association to be 360 No Scoped back into the 8 bit age. I don’t fucking care how good or bad I am, I deserve the right to play unchallenged.

This is a fundamental problem with Humanity that really should have been fixed by now.

Rejecting a space which is specifically designated as one in which performers may do as they wish is artistically limiting, Kanye.

You need to listen to more people, mate.

That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

Technology is a harsh mistress, as I have found to my cost on many occasions. How you deal with it, what it means to others, and ultimately how it is learning to deal with usย can be tough to grasp. Someone linked this to me this morning, remarking how amusing they found it. I’ve watched it four times, and only now grasp why.

Why we laugh is an extremely subjective set of variables. Often we do so just to fit into the social situation that we’re placed in, and certain actions will be hilarious to one person and offensive to someone else (see setting fire to bonfire effigies earlier this week.) ‘Funny’ for me has always been a tough ask, especially on days when the ASD brain just sees things for what they are, and is unable to either assign subtlety, meaningย  or depth. Things like this video are particularly difficult to fathom. After all, the computer is doing is using an algorithm to place the most popular posts by likes and views in a certain order.

Is this funny because there’s only one friend, or are you laughing in relief relief that this car crash of a life isn’t ours?


This week has also highlighted a gulf in empathy and understanding between quite a few groups of people. It’s made me aware of how others form relationships in cyberspace, in a manner that has never really clicked before. For that I have a YouTuber to thank, linked by a mutual Twitter person on the back of the massive row over a video game being launched as a mobile game.ย I don’t normally allow my lives to overlap, but in this case it’s a pretty significant revelation, that rolls over into everyday existence.

This is a concept that I grasped a couple of years ago, shortly before realising that the future was not attempting to become something that I was never happily going to be. It is particularly difficult to be critical of an organisation when your friends love it so much that they went to work for them, but in the last week it has been hard not to feel a sense of disappointment. It most definitely isn’t my friends who’ve made me feel like that: all of them are hardworking, dedicated and singularly driven individuals. It is the company they work for who should be criticised, because as this entire debacle has moved on, nobody involved in PR and senior management has covered themselves or the brand in glory.

It really came home for me when I made a joke about the new Samsung phone, which folds out to become a small tablet: could this be a good thing to play Diablo on?ย When you laugh at the expense of other’s reprehensible behaviour, you become no better than they are. Then there has to be pause, and reconsideration of what matters. In Blizzard’s latest earning’s call, it was made abundantly apparent every Blizzard IP will have a mobile game in the future, and that microtransactions will feature. There’s no hiding the fact that what matters isn’t gaming as a lifestyle choice, but as a continuous means to make money,ย ย from Blizzard’s gaming ‘family.’

Mobile gaming allows that earnings generation to be opened up to a wider demographic.

The quote from senior management in TB’s video is horribly telling, and uses language that makes me cringe: of course, most people don’t care, aren’t interested or (as I’ve discovered this week) are more likely to start muting or blocking people who continue to rant and rave about these events than take time to look at the bigger implications. For me, actually… this is funny. Not roll about on the floor amusing, but ironic and perhaps inevitable in it’s stupidity. I know many gamers who can’t laugh about themselves when a mirror is held up to their quirks and foibles. Far too many people take themselves too seriously, and that’s where I’m now drawing a line.

This is not life and death. This is not saving the planet or improving other people’s existences. It is a bunch of blinkered individuals who are obsessed with what they want from their time on this planet, which matters more long term than any real social enrichment.ย However, if this highlights the fact that Blizzard is not a personย then the whole thing will be worth the trauma, because maybe that will allow other people an opportunity to take a step back from obsessive behaviour and see the World for what it really is.


I’ve got a lot to think about going forward, especially in reference to how I deal with those people for whom such principles effectively overtake everything else, including common sense and reason. Personally, the last seven days have proven that whether I like it or not, some people just can’t grasp appropriate reactions to certain situations. Maybe they’ve never been taught, or perhaps they are so entitled they don’t see the problem. It’s not funny any more, it is sad and ultimately enough for me to walk away from people who, in some cases, I held real respect for.

If these people were as a tenth as passionate about saving the Planet or changing social injustice as they are about a bunch of pixels, think what might actually get done.