Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Revamping my Blog, Random Facts About Me, and the Liebster Hipster

Aspiring writers are told over and over, "Build a platform." Create a web presence as soon as possible, because that will increase your value as an author. The more networked you are, the more books you can sell. That's what they say.

In that spirit, my personal writing update has a lot to do with my recently reworked websites. I am currently working on 4 different blogs, and a huge goal I had for June was to streamline the look and functionality. I figured my experience might make for a fun useful blogpost, reciting three tips I picked up along the way.

Use a blog post instead of a page for your welcome site.


The reason for this is statistical. Blogger tracks the number of pageviews you get on blog posts. My "welcome" site is actually just a normal post. (see it here) I've linked my URL to it, http://www.harrisonaye.com, and it directs to that page. This allows me to keep statistics such as how many people have ventured to my site, and also how. In the statistic page, you can see what the sources for the clickthrough are. If you do other things on the web to promote yourself (like me), you'll be able to see the size of the benefit you're getting for the work you put into it. For instance, my Tumblr page brought me 20 clicks yesterday. Making Tumblr posts is easy, since I'm using it to host sketches I make. 20 clicks is worth making a new post on Tumblr. Whatever you do besides blogging online, it's always good to know what kind of redirection you're scoring while aiming at your homepage.

Streamline the look of everything at once


This was a TON of work for me. Check this out:

http://www.oxyborb.blogspot.com/
http://www.poetsrevolver.blogspot.com/
http://oxyborb.blogspot.com/
http://unravelatlas.blogspot.com/
http://oxyborb.tumblr.com/

http://unravelreads.blogspot.com/

All of these sites are mine, and I've done a great deal of work to make them look uniform. The backgrounds for the non-writing sites are colored differently, yet you can see my picture and sidebar setup is all the same. The Unraveler Blog, this blog, is my most important space, so I have more links at the side. However, the rest of my sites have links that transfer over to The Unraveler Blog.


Create a name-brand that is uniquely you and differs from your name (unless you gave a weird name)

Unraveler is a weird word that is my book.


Oxyborb is a word that I created. It's pretty unforgettable because it sounds so strange, as if it means weirdness.

Oxyborb especially has been a useful brand name for me because I can get oxyborb as a login on any site I want. I made the word up (while trying to say "shock absorber" backwards on a trampoline)! Therefore I own it in ways nobody else has ever. If you're creative, try making up a word that is uniquely you.

I'm not trying to make this a huge post, but if you want to know more of my thoughts on setting up a social media presence, check out this other post I wrote.



In other news, a blogger nominated me for a Liebster award, which is a just-for-fun gold star for bloggers without too many followers yet. It's sort of to get you talking about yourself, and to encourage others to talk about themselves. A little recognition for the little guy. It seemed fun, so I thought I'd participate.

The blogger who nominated me is Nhi Le @ The Literary Bystander. Her voice for reviewing books is hilarious, honest, and right-on-the-money, so you should definitely check out her blog! Mad props (and my thanks!) to her for even noticing my tiny (tiny) blog!


RULES
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions asked by whoever nominated you.
3. Nominate 9 bloggers with less than 300 followers and leave them a comment saying they've been nominated.
4. Ask 11 new questions for your chosen nominees.
5. You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you.

11 Facts About Me

1. I didn't think The Hunger Games needed a sequel.

I loved the Hunger Games, as much as anyone, but I was hesitant to begin reading the second and third books because I didn't feel like I needed more than the first. After a few years, I did end up reading them, and they were good, but I still think The Hunger Games would have been perfectly fine as a one-off. The first movie was my favorite movie of the year when it came out.

Bonus fact: I once made a Hunger Games cake


2. I hate nuts and spicy stuff

3. I can recite the original PokeRap

4. I reread the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings series every other year. I made it all the way through the Silmarillion, a very tough read, and I'm proud of that.

5. I own a goldfish that is 9 years old. His name is Ludwig, not after the composer but after Ludwig von Koopa, a Super Mario character. I got him my freshmen year of college. Holy cow that was 9 years ago.

6. I play as the Ice Climbers in Super Smash Brothers.

7. I have a clay sculpture of my own head in my room that someone made for me.

8. I consider myself a Ravenclaw (and proud of it!).

9. I have been to a convention for people who love the James Cameron movie, Avatar. Yes, there were people in full blue-Navi costume. I met the one of the producers, Jon Landau. He was really a cool, hilarious guy. OK, I'm not like one of those crazy Avatar people, but I like the movie and this event was near my home. It was entertaining and random.


10. I make music. I've made 3 CDs worth of music, and a ton of random other stuff. Here's my latest:




11. I played Snowbell the Cat in a staged play of Stewart Little. In the play I got shot by an arrow, and the children who came to see the show sent me drawings of myself in a full bodied cat costume getting shot. It was so funny.


Questions made up by Nhi Le!

1.  Who is an author you love so much, that you will buy any and every one of their books, regardless if you have any interest in the plot or not?
I'm super cautious with money, so I probably wouldn't buy every book from anyone (although I did buy the Casual Vacancy, which I never finished). But I will say that I purchase Stephen King books on mad whims every once and a while. Honestly, even the worst SK book is usually better than 99% of what's out there. SK isn't really a financial risk! It may be stereotypical to say I love his work, but he's so highly esteemed for a reason!

2. Do you think that printed books will ever become obsolete and we will live in an e-book only society one day?
One day, yes. Soon? No. Tablets are good, Kindles work better, but I feel like they don't quite make books obsolete yet. I believe that there will be a technology that ends print forever, but I don't think we've seen it yet. 

3. Are there books that you think are overrated or you just avoid just to it being over-hyped?
Not really. I don't particularly enjoy the same things as everyone else, but I feel like that's just my taste. I think it's great when a book is hyped up, even if I don't particularly like that book, simply for the fact that it means more people are reading. I think the world would be better if more people read. Movies get hyped. Sports events get hyped. Video games. Phones. It's weird how rare it is for a book to get hyped up, and they usually only do once there's a movie anyway. I say the more hype for books, the better (even if it's not my cup of tea). 

4. Does your opinion of an author affect whether or nor you will read and like their book (e.g. you hear an author is attacking people who leave negative reviews on their books)?
Yes. For a positive example, I had never read anything by Maggie Stiefvater before I came to love her personality on social media and on YouTube. Just seeing the way that she handles herself online made me want to buy her books. I actually recently finished The Scorpio Races. On the other end of the spectrum, there was one author who recently said a bunch of anti-gay stuff, and it tarnished my memory of one of the books I had read from him. I might have seen his new movie/read the sequels but not now.

5. Name 5 books you will pay with your soul to see adapted either as a movie or television series.
It by Stephen King. I know there was a movie, but it doesn't hold up anymore. I mean, Tim Curry was amazing in it, but the rest of the movie fell to pieces simply for the fact that there were too many parts cut out to fit it in the time slot. I feel like a modernized version could rock. I would say TV show, since there's so much to it. A good three-season show on HBO or something.

The Unwanteds Series by Lisa McMann. Such a great Middle Grade book series. Very fun and whimsical. I would love to see this.

SK's The Dark Tower. Just make it happen already!

A proper movie version of I, Robot
. The Will Smith movie had NOTHING to do with the books, and it made the lead female protagonist seem like a helpless dimwit. I want a proper telling that actually stays true to the book. Perhaps it could be a TV show.

Finally, I have to say The Unraveler. My book. Is that cheating? My book was born for the movies because it's a collection of insane visuals. My creatures are weird enough to be done by Jim Henson Studio. I would give anything to see it, but I suppose any author would feel the same. My book has clown pirates, armies of clockwork men, and monsters with hooks for hands and twin-beaks.

6. Do you prefer standalone or books in a series?
Series, usually. I like longer stuff. I like a good standalone in between series binges.

7. Have you ever read the reviews for a book before you've read it, spoilers and all?
 Not really. Most people don't really feel the same way I do about books, so I can really only trust my own reading. Also, spoilers are the bane of my existence, even small spoilers.

8. Name a character you hate that everyone else seems to love?
 Haymitch Abernathy. I grew up with an alcoholic, and it was unpleasant. Reading Haymitch was also unpleasant for this reason.

9. Name a character you love that everyone else seems to hate? (Aren't I so original with my questions?)
 Joffrey Baratheon. Oh I love hating him so much. His scenes are the best.

10. What compels you more into a story - the plot or the characters?
 Plot. I know this is probably the unpopular answer. I would rather have a book that goes where I want than have a book with the characters I want, I guess. If I want a fantasy, then I will read a fantasy book. Horror for horror. I never usually feel like I'm in the mood for a certain type of character, lol.

11. Do you prefer happy or tragic endings? Or even cliffhangers?
A mix. Some things should be sad, but there should always be a glimmer of happiness. 


Now, onto my nominees. 

Generally, for this you're supposed to look for other blogs that are smaller than you to nominate. Smaller blogs that need the ego viewership boost they deserve for all of their hard work. The problem with this I have is that my (tiny) blog is the smallest blog ever, and I'd feel weird/too shy/embarrassed nominating a bunch of blogs that are bigger than me (I'll do this Liebster thing again after I've gained more followers, so that this actually helps others).

So, instead I'll just say that I nominate whoever is reading this. If you have a blog and you'd like to participate, leave a comment and I'll totally pimp out your blog in a followup post to this. All you've got to do is post 11 facts about yourself and answer my 11 questions, which are listed as follows:

oxyborb's questions:
1. You can only choose one: The power of flight or the ability to turn invisible. Why did you choose what you did?
2. You're a Dark Wizard! What object would you use to make yourself a horcrux (Harry Potter)?
3. Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Genesis? Why did you choose the NES system you did?
4. Of the original Power Rangers, which Dinosaur Zord would you drive?
5. What is your favorite type of tea/coffee?
6. What is your favorite Pixar film?
7. What scares you as an adult? As a kid?
8. If you could make a big-budget movie, what would it be?
9. What classical fantasy race/creature would you be?
10. What classic horror monster would you choose to fight on your side (barring any of the giant-sized ones like Godzilla)?
11. How many times a year do you check to see if the Force works for you yet?

***
Thanks for reading! Hit me up on twitter! @Oxyborb




LB: http://theliterarybystander.blogspot.com/2014/06/liebster-award.html



Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pikmin 3 - My Thoughts and Ideas For Improving the Sequel


If you’ve ever read my blog, you know I don’t review games. My blog is about dissecting games and trying to analyze specifically what the problems are and how to fix them. Also, I like to give my creative ideas and constructive feedback, in hopes that I can contribute to the conversation for how games can be better.
Thorn Pikmin

This is not a review of Pikmin 3. If it were, I would say how much I loved the use of the tablet for a map, the art and sound design, the music, the characters, the puzzles. I would say how much I think Pink Pikmin were ingenious, especially when used alongside Blue Pikmin. The Bee-Queen boss battle was furiously fun. I absolutely enjoyed my time with Pikmin 3 for Wii U, which is awesome because I got it for free. When I purchased Mario Kart 8, it came with a download for P3, and to be honest, I’ve loved P3 even more than MK8.

But this isn’t a review. I want to talk about the issues I’ve had with the game and the creative ideas I have for (hopefully) the sequel (please, please make one!).


Rock and Purple

Black Pikmin
First, I just want to say this: Rock Pikmin are just a rehashed Purple Pikmin. I feel like Purple Pikmin could have been used to break glass as easily as rock ones. I feel like making a new “weighty” Pikmin showed a lack of creativity. Why do the same idea twice? It would have been just as easy to bring back purple as use rock, since they’re so similar.

Now, I want to say that Winged Pikmin are the BEST. I love them. The new abilities of Yellow Pikmin with that electricity chain thing is AWESOME. Good work! I wish there had been more of this… for example, Red Pikmin could get a fire burning on their leaves if they pass through flame, which would allow them to set fires to piles of brush or monsters. Blue Pikmin could absorb water and shoot it at enemies or move it to make ponds elsewhere… I wanted more of this kind of thing, however Yellow Pikmin were the only one of the old Pikmin to get new abilities. Also, I wish I could have gotten to play with White, Purple, and Bulborb Pikmin just for posterity's sake. Maybe they could have just been a cave-specific thing.



Missed opportunities for Rock Pikmin:

I had a bunch of cool ideas for how Rock Pikmin could have been differentiated from Purple Pikmin, and here they are:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

About A Poet's Revolver

This is a personal / daily life blog written by Harrison Aye. It's just about whatever is going on in my life, but sometimes I might talk about world events, education, my random observations, and whatever else is on my mind.

I write this blog more for myself than anyone else. When I am someday feeling nostalgic, I can go back and remember my life's twists and turns. However, the shared human experience is important, so I made this public.

It's nice to feel like someone out there might be listening,
even if it's not true. If my blog was private, then I know that nobody would be listening. It's just a nice thought to think that perhaps someone who goes through a similar problem to me might stumble upon my blog and feel better.

So, that's what this is. Just me talking to myself aloud. You can follow by hitting the buttons on the link bar! Thanks for stopping by!




Get to know me in other ways! Check out my links!


harrisonaye.com - This is my welcome splash page, which you can use to navigate to my other pages.

Unraveler Blog - This is my official writing blog. I post about my writing process and my thoughts on other literature.
http://www.unravelreads.blogspot.com/

If you'd like for my writing blogs to show up in your Facebooknewsfeed, "like" this page: https://www.facebook.com/unravelerbook

Oxyborb - This is my nerd culture, video game, Halloween, and anything weird blog. There's a variety of stuff on here, so check it out! 
http://www.oxyborb.blogspot.com/

If you'd like for my nerd culture blogs to show up in your Facebook newsfeed, "like" this page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oxyborb/112019158940464?ref=ts&fref=ts

Unraveled Sketches on Tumblr - Where I post the sketches I make as I write, and also apparently where I talk about Muppets too often.

 Weird and Creepy Pinterest - A collection of strange images that inspire me.
 
My YouTube - Sometimes I feel the urge to make weird YouTube videos. They are pretty random.
http://www.youtube.com/oxyborb

My Twitter - For random revelations under 140 characters:
http://www.twitter.com/oxyborb

My Facebook - This page is more... up-and-coming. I have it set up so that when my writing career takes off, it's ready to go and official. Feel free to "like" it (then you can be there before it was cool, you hipster), but I don't expect to post on it until my novel is published.
https://www.facebook.com/harrisonaye

My Gumroad eShop - If you want to support me in a financial sense, then I have a Gumroad eShop where you can buy my music, videos, and other digital files. Thank you for the support! It helps me fund my creations! You can buy all of my songs individually for $1, or you can buy the entire CD for $5 (there are 11 tracks!).
http://www.gumroad.com/oxyborb
 
Contact me!
oxyborb@gmail.com
@oxyborb on Twitter
https://www.facebook.com/harrisonaye
or feel free to leave comments on my social pages! I read them!

About Oxyborb

This blog is dedicated to creative enhancement for geek culture.

(to put it simply)

I am a creative person with a passion for videogames, halloween, and geek culture. I thrive on weirdness, and so I wanted to keep a blog that gives my insight into the world of being odd.

When I say "creative enhancement," what I mean is that I give constructive criticism, conceptualize ideas, and show off the art, music, etc. that I am doing. I want to improve / add to the culture in positive ways. For example, instead of reviewing a video game on a ten-point scale, I will list ideas that I have come up with that could improve the next game in the series. I am not a reviewer because I don't like simply saying what I think is wrong in the world; I am the kind of person that believes that new ideas and outside-the-box thinking can help sculpt old ideas for a better experience. I believe in being constructive, not mean. 


 So, that's pretty much what this blog is all about. You can follow by hitting the buttons on the link bar! Thanks for stopping by!


Get to know me in other ways! Check out my links!

harrisonaye.com - This is my welcome splash page, which you can use to navigate to my other pages.

Unraveler Blog - This is my official writing blog. I post about my writing process and my thoughts on other literature.
http://www.unravelreads.blogspot.com/

If you'd like for my writing blogs to show up in your Facebook newsfeed, "like" this page: https://www.facebook.com/unravelerbook

A Poet's Revolver - This is my everyday, life blog. It's pretty much a simple blog where I post about topics that do not fit into other categories.
http://www.poetsrevolver.blogspot.com/



Unraveled Sketches on Tumblr - Where I post the sketches I make as I write, and also apparently where I talk about Muppets too often.

 Weird and Creepy Pinterest - A collection of strange images that inspire me.
 
My YouTube - Sometimes I feel the urge to make weird YouTube videos. They are pretty random.
http://www.youtube.com/oxyborb

My Twitter - For random revelations under 140 characters:
http://www.twitter.com/oxyborb

My Facebook - This page is more... up-and-coming. I have it set up so that when my writing career takes off, it's ready to go and official. Feel free to "like" it (then you can be there before it was cool, you hipster), but I don't expect to post on it until my novel is published.
https://www.facebook.com/harrisonaye

My Gumroad eShop - If you want to support me in a financial sense, then I have a Gumroad eShop where you can buy my music, videos, and other digital files. Thank you for the support! It helps me fund my creations! You can buy all of my songs individually for $1, or you can buy the entire CD for $5 (there are 11 tracks!).
http://www.gumroad.com/oxyborb
 
Contact me!
oxyborb@gmail.com
@oxyborb on Twitter
https://www.facebook.com/harrisonaye
or feel free to leave comments on my social pages! I read them! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Clothing

First off, I’d like to introduce my new car:

She’s beautiful and blue and as small as a shoe. 2011 Hyundai Accent.

Most of the last month has been car shopping, for me. I went to every dealer under the sun. It’s amazing how similar each salesperson’s pitch is. “I just sold my son a car, four weeks ago.” They like everything you like. They like to change the topic from car buying to things you like. It’s annoying. I guess, as an English major and communications minor, I am prone to see tactics in interpersonal speech and persuasion. They did not work on me. At the last minute, I managed to talk them down another 500 bucks. Party.

I have a car loan, now.

When I was in Seattle, I hoped that soon I’ve never have to deal with paying for car stuff again. I thought I’d be getting rid of the one up there, since the bus system was so good. It’s not so good in Southern Illinois.

Things change. 


I bought a new video game system. The Wii U. I love it. I have been doing yoga on it every day. I’ve been eating vegetables. After I moved back from Seattle to here, I fell off the health wagon. I want to get back on it.

I have a list of things I want: A new hat. A hat specifically for work. HD camera. PS4. Wii Blue Remote. CD case. CD car for car mirror. Burnable CDs. New notebook. New professional artist grade drawing pens. Binders to sort my novel notes. New Dry erase marker holder. Other, more embarrassing, things that I don’t want to list publicly on my blog.

I cross them off my list as I go. I don’t buy the first items I see. I am frugal. I shop around.

I don’t waste money. 


I do not make a ton of money. I am a teacher, after all.

I bought clothes. I haven’t bought clothes for any other reason than work over four years. I have four new polos, three new T-shirts that are only for social occasions. I have twenty-five pairs of new socks. I trashed my old socks. I have two new sets of gym wear. I have four new pairs of shorts. I have new sneakers and new flip-flops. I have thousands of dollars left over in the bank. I pay my bills on time. My list is almost completely crossed off.

Is there a point to me saying all of this? Yes, and it's not to brag. This is, after all, not an insane list. This is normal stuff people need every day. My point, I guess, is that money doesn't make you happy. I am happy, but not because of the fact that I can take stuff home. It's the control. The feeling that there's only one person who sways my destiny, and that's me. I can buy a shirt because I know I am smart enough not to bounce checks. Four+ years and I finally have a new shirt that I can wear to a bar and not look like a dunce. Four+ years and only now is my savings reaching a peak. Things changed for me, and I am happier for it.

MY GAME OF E3 2014


No Man's Sky

This game looks STUNNING. Like what Spore should have been. I love open worlds... try open universe. I love the concept that there's a very tiny chance to encounter other players online, since the universe is so big. I love that dinosaurs exist. I love the art direction and the use of color. I love the science fiction, new frontier. I love the community exploration and discovery aspects. I love that you share your discoveries with everyone that is playing. I just cannot wait to purchase this game. I hope it lives up to what they're showing. Spore, honestly, did not... so I'm hoping this will be the fulfillment of universal exploration I've been wanting. Awesome show, Hello Games. I wish you guys the best of luck!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My E3 2014 thoughts

Microsoft / Xbox One

I was just joking about hating Xbox as a brand. I love all things video game, and if I could afford to have an Xbox One, I would enjoy it thoroughly. However, one thing is clear: The Xbox is a shooter machine. There were too many games at the conference that were first-person shooters, and that bores me. While I enjoy a gritty shooter once and a while, I must stress that once and a while means not very often. I didn’t see a single shooter game at the Xbox conference that I would bother to play. It’s just not my thing. I also don’t enjoy snarky protagonists for the fantasy genre. I feel like fantasy with over-the-top snark just makes me feel like I’m being made fun of, and as a nerd, I just don’t want that while I’m trying to immerse myself in a fantasy world. The Witcher looked awesome though. The game that most intrigued me was that new one by the guy who did Limbo. That one, yeah. Looked fun, but not enough to make me want an XB1. The Halo collection looks rad. I love Halo, and I haven’t played a Halo game since having a roommate in college.

Sony / Playstation

The show was slow moving, and the speakers were not amazing at public speaking, but the games were good. I love Infamous, so more content for that brand is a +. I really do prefer Sony just because there are less shooters and more creative/weird styles of games. A word on LittleBIGPlanet 3: When LBP2 came out, I wasn’t ready for it. There wasn’t a big enough gap between games for me to want to play it. I bought it, but got bored because I just wasn’t ready for a new game. That said, I’m still not ready. If LittleBIGPlanet 2 would have been announced yesterday, I would be overwhelmed with hype. I would play it like mad, but not 3. I’m still burned out from LBP2, which I was still burned out from 1. I want a bigger gap of time between LBP games. There are too many of them. I think my favorite game from Sony was that open-universe colorful one with the spaceship. Whatever that was called. At first I thought I was looking at Spore 2. I wonder what the objective to that game is. I cannot wait to find out! Other than that, Destiny, Batman, and Uncharted all look amazing.

Ubisoft / EA 


Assassin’s Creed looks amazing (although I wish it were Black Flag 2 instead) and I cannot wait to purchase and play Star Wars: Battlefront.

Nintendo / Wii U / 3DS

I love how weird Nintendo is. Splatoon looks creative, even if I don’t want to buy it. Maybe if there are more levels. Smash Bros. 4 looks incredible. Paluntena, Mii Fighter, and Pac-Man are wonderful additions. I am so glad they’re using the classic Pac-Man look instead of the newer ones where his eyes are humanlike. I won’t be truly happy with the roster until I see Ice Climbers return. The Smash Invitational was incredible. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen Nintendo do. Using Robot Chicken to keep the event interesting was clever. Zelda, on the other hand, does not interest me in the slightest. Yes, it’s because of the art style. Last E3 they teased me with realistic Link, and this year they gave me cartoon Link. I’m sorry, I just don’t like cartoon Link. I want Zelda to be more like Skyrim, not more like Mario. The new Toad puzzle game looks fun. Mario Maker looks limited to the first Mario game, and that bores me. I wish they had based Mario Maker on SMB3. There’s just more enemies, powerups, etc. The one thing that scares me for Nintendo is that all of the new exciting games seem to be coming in 2015.

Overall: 


Good games, but nothing that really makes me drool.

 

WHERE IS FALLOUT 4?????

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones thoughts and predictions, spoilers after the pagebreak


SPOILERS AHEAD. After the jump, I will be talking about the book series called A Song of Ice and Fire. SPOILERS will be said. If you don’t want the books (all five of them!) ruined for you, then stop reading.
No, seriously. Stop reading if you don’t want spoilers. I, personally, HATE spoilers, so I’m trying to be clear that they are ahead. If you keep reading, they will come.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

I just finished all five books that are currently out in the series. That’s 4273 pages of writing, and let me tell you, the font is not big. I feel like this is a major accomplishment, and there are at least two more books that are going to be released in the future. So, I thought I’d have a postmortem. What did I think? What are my theories? Etc. Etc. After the pagebreak, I will be saying all, spoilers included. 

SPOILERS AHEAD.

click the pagebreak for massive spoilers

SPOILERS AHEAD.

lol, ok. I'll stop. Sorry, it’s just that someone spoiled Harry Potter for me, and I was extremely disappointed. My favorite book was the green one. A Storm of Swords, the third book. The ending had SO MUCH payoff. I loved every moment.

Ygritte’s death was masterfully written. You know nothing, Jon Snow. Possibly the saddest moment of the entire book series.

The Red Wedding was less shocking because I had seen the show. In fact, the reason I began the books was because of the Red Wedding. I needed to know what happened after it. For the show, it was the most shocking moment of television/movies I’ve ever witnessed. It freaked me out, majorly. I had nightmares. HBO made it even more gory than it was in the books, which was good.

It’s weird to see the departures from the book. Obviously, the cast is already huge, and to hire so many actors and get so many commitments is probably costly, so it’s weird to see how they’ve had to move characters around so that way certain actors get their screen time.

Books 4 and 5 were good, but difficult. Before I say anymore more, I loved all the books, and I think that this series is amazingly written and worth every moment of your time. Read them, immediately. The TV show is fantastic, too. I've never felt more emotion because of a book tham what ASOIAF has brought me. Now, I will say that I was sad to not be reading about all my favorite characters during my time with Book 4, but then when I began Book 5, I was disappointed with the direction my favorite characters were being pushed in. I miss the Littlefinger VS Varys rivalry. I miss the secrets and squabbles of King’s Landing politics. Without the spider and the finger, King’s Landing is not as interesting.

Tyrion in Book 5 was the hardest part. I mean, the best part of Tyrion is the fact that he gets through situations because he is so witty, but in Book 5 he was being shoved around. He didn’t have a chance to use his wit much, and so his sections weren’t as good as when he was the Hand. I also really, really dislike him riding a pig and acting like a fool. I hate the other dwarf, Penny. I’m glad that part is over. I hope Penny dies/exits the plot.

Dany, too. I like her when she’s badass, and in Book 5, she’s not badass. She’s sort of just dealing with all the BS of running a kingdom. It’s sort of sad. Plus, I didn’t want to her marry that jerk. I hate that she allowed the slavers to bring slaves into her city. I hate that she gave in. If I had to guess, though, I would say that I think that the Shavepate is the Harpy. This is why: the bowl of poisoned food was locusts. Locust was the mask that the Shavepate made his Beasts wear during the mutiny.

My favorite moments from Book 5 were the ones with Stannis and Jon. I love how they interacted, and I loved that Jon helped Stannis. If you think about it, returning Moat Caitlin to the rightful northern lord was exactly what a King should do. That was such a cool idea, and it all clicked in my head.

For the record, I do not believe that either Stannis or Jon Snow are dead. I feel like the letter from Ramsey to Jon Snow was a deception created by Stannis. Jon Snow could go either way, but I choose to believe he will either survive or be resurrected through Melisandre. It would be in keeping with GRRMartin’s writing style to kill Jon Snow right then and there, but I believe that Jon Snow IS the song of ice and fire.

Jon Snow’s parentage, if I had to guess, is Lyanna Stark and Rheagar Targaryen’s child. Ned kept this information from his good friend King Robert because Robert would have killed Jon. Anyway, Stark is the bloodline of ice, Targaryen is fire… so a child between the two families would be the song of ice and fire. That is the reason I believe Jon Snow will live or be resurrected.

AND if he does die and is resurrected, then his duty to the Night’s Watch is over. The vows that the oaths of commitment to the Watch “
shall not end until my death.” Meaning, if Jon dies, he no longer must be a member to the Watch… and if he’s resurrected… he is alive again and free of his oath. Meaning Jon will finally have a chance to go wherever he wants and bring justice down on his enemies.

And now, I will make a series of predictions for the last two books. I am positive that I will be wrong about most of these, simply because GRRMartin is crazy unpredictable, and doesn’t seem to do anything the readers want him to. I also think he leads people on, only to take a crazy direction that nobody expect. I believe he knows what people are predicting, and I believe he purposefully goes against it. So, my making a prediction, I am contributing to my predictions being wrong.

PREDICTION: Dany will die in the last book. I feel this is what will happen. I do not believe that she will be in power by the end. I believe Dany will sacrifice herself to kill the white walkers.
 

PREDICTION: Bran will forever be in the tree.

PREDICTION: Jojen said that he saw a Stark in Winterfell again, so I believe that Rickon Stark will live to become the lord there. 

PREDICTION:  Jon Snow will meet Howland Reed and learn his parentage. He will join with Stannis and fight for King’s Landing. Upon Stannis’s death, Stannis, as the King he believes himself to be, allows Jon to take the name Targaryen. Jon Targaryen will be the King in the end.

PREDICTION: Tyrion will live and be named Lord of Casterly Rock, as rightful and lawful heir to the Lannister house. This will put an end to the Stark/Lannister war, because Jon likes Tyrion and knows he’s a good person.

PREDICTION:  Samwell will meet Sansa.

 PREDICTION: Sansa will make a decision that shows her loyalty to Littlefinger over her family. Littlefinger will, in turn, have her put to death later.

PREDICTION: Arya will die after everyone on her list is dead. She’s too drunk on murder to survive the series. Perhaps Littlefinger and EvilSansa will be the reason. Perhaps Littlefinger finds her, and Sansa has to make the choice, and she chooses Littlefinger over Arya, causing Arya’s death. The reason I see this as a possibility is because out of all of the people on Arya’s list, the one person that isn’t on it is Littlefinger, although he’s the cause of some of the biggest problems that the Starks had to face (such as Ned’s death, for starters). Perhaps, after that, Arya in the wolf’s body will kill Sansa.

PREDICTION: The Dornishmen are all doomed.

PREDICTION: King Tommen will pick Margery Martell over Cersei his mother. This one is complicated, but the show gave me insight into the direction of the books. I believe that the reason why Margery was drinking moontea, the reason she’s no longer a virgin… is because she had sex with Tommen. I believe, at Margery’s trial, Tommen will admit to it and Margery will be free. Cersei, in turn, will not be pardoned for her crimes and will be sentenced to death. She will not be executed, however, until she believes that both of her children are dead. However, I think that her children might survive and become wards of Tyrion if he takes Casterly Rock.


That’s all I got. Let me know what you think of my predictions/thoughts in the comments!


Hit me up on twitter! Harrison Aye is @Oxyborb

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – My thoughts and ideas for improving whatever game comes next


I didn’t want to write this post until I had gotten all of the main game’s achievements/trophies, including the platinum. I know it’s late coming, but Skyrim was a long, long game for me. 230+ hours! I’m the kind of person that likes to play parts of games, move on, and come back later when I feel like it, so it took me a while (since 2011!) to finally complete it (but I did!).

I absolutely MUST start off by explaining the way I felt being a PS3 player. The unfinished product I purchased at game’s launch kept me from playing at around level 30 until the patch finally arrived to fix the bugs. Also, the DLC came so much later than it did for other users. It made me feel poorly treated as a consumer. When I finally got the DLC, it was exceedingly glitchy. The vampire DLC glitched out to the point where I couldn’t complete it because the castle gate locked and wouldn’t open. This issue had been noted for many PS3 players, so, after some research, I resolved that I had to reset my game to an earlier save file. The only problem was that the save file had to be a MUCH earlier save file because of an earlier action I made that set the glitch off. I lost about 15 hours of progress, which is more than what I put in for the entirety of most full games. It was awful. Also, the Build-A-House DLC was fun but really, really glitchy. None of the build-a-statues wear the armor I put on them, instead duplicating old items and standing naked. The items I placed in my house moved sporadically as if I had a poltergeist, and all the doors in my house, which I wanted to leave open, would close themselves for no reason.

PS3-specific awfulness aside, what can I say? I believe Skyrim is probably the best game that has ever been made. I truly loved every second of gameplay. Even with losing a whopping 15 hours due to a glitch, I wanted to keep going. I played through the glitches because the game was so immersive, such a wonderful escape, and so much gerd-derned fun that I couldn’t stop. Bethesda is the best studio in the world. I can’t stress this enough. The game, even though it is from 2011, is still the best game out there, imo. I could go on and on forever about the things I love about this game, but that would be pointless.

This blog isn’t meant to butter people up. It’s also not meant to tear game developers down.

My blog is a blog of ideas. I call it, Creative Enhancement for Nerd Culture for a reason. I'm not a game dev, so I know that I'm ignorant to the work it takes to make a game, so don't feel like I'm chiding anyone. I think Bethesda is insanely talented. This is just my dreams and desires. Anyway, without further ado, here is my want-list for whatever next Elder Scrolls game Bethesda does next… 





1. Make less followers, but make them more in-depth

There are a billion-trillion followers you can pick to join you during your 200+hour journey. Almost every player I know picked Lydia and kept her for the entire game.

Why Lydia?

Because you got her in Whiterun, which is where most people go in the beginning. She’s quick to get. On the main quest line. She’s also not much better or worse than anyone else you can get.

Why is that?

Maybe your follower could be a golem that needs help to become a man again
Because Lydia, like almost every follower, is not all that interesting. Followers in Skyrim don’t have much to say. Some particular ones have city-specific things to say. Some have more dialog than others. I tried a few followers, but I mostly stuck with Mjoll the Lioness for the game because she was the most chatty (although, I would also recommend spending some time with Cicero if you let him live). There’s not much of a reason to choose Lydia over the mercenary at the inn, because Lydia doesn’t have desires, needs, or much to offer to the plot. She’s just a mindless follower who you can send in the kill a giant for you or hold your gear when you’re overburdened.

My suggestion is this: The developers should make one or two REALLY awesome personal followers rather than a million boring ones. Why have 50 followers if most people will just pick the first one they get and stick with her? Bethesda, don’t waste time on that. Make one follower, and make her really, really interesting. I think the one thing New Vegas did right was have interesting followers with their own quest lines. You can talk to them more. Now, Mjoll, for sake of example, had a quest. Returning her sword, only then could she be made a follower. Not a very complex quest, truly, and by the time she was a follower, there wasn’t much else she had to say.

Imagine if your one well-imagined follower had involvement in several of the quests? Imagine if the one follower had ideas to add during conversations with other NPCs? If you only had to make one follower, then you could make her have more unique dialog. Mjoll would often talk over the quest-giver with her canned dialog. What if Mjoll would have added to the conversation instead? You could create relationship building mechanics, depending on how you treat her or talk to her. She could have her own desires, goals.

So, make one follower, and make her awesome. Don’t make a million boring followers.


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