Review – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Ever since I started blogging, I wanted to try out different review formats. This ranged from long to short reviewsfirst impressions and even a Manga review. While game reviews (and more importantly, Indie Game reviews) are probably going to stay in focus for me personally on Indiecator, I’d like to try the occasional odd one here and there with a book, show or, like in this case, a movie review. Today I wanted to talk about one of my favourite Christmas movies: Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000).

The movie is about the Grinch who lives just outside of Whoville on a remote trash mountain and who hates Christmas. While the Whos are full of anticipation for the upcoming Christmas holiday, the Grinch is out for revenge instead.

Starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, and Jeffrey Tambor, among others, this is basically the Dr Seuss book turned into a full movie. The rhymes and sentences from the children’s book got adapted into the movie well although slightly changed at times while story elements (like Cindy Lou Who being turned into the main character) have been changed to make up for the short source material. All in all, I feel like it’s a good adaptation although it struggles here and there to make full use of the concepts and ideas it touches on.

The narrator, Anthony Hopkins, initiates the story with the words “Inside a snowflake, like the one on your sleeve, there happened a story you must see to believe”. The Whos are a jolly kind of seemingly-pig-snouted people that live in Whoville and are eager to celebrate their favourite holiday. Marching with a band and swarming into the stores, everything seems to brim with life and joy. The only one who questions the mass of presents that people are buying is Cindy Lou Who, a young Who that not only likes Christmas but also ends up asking the important questions. 

As time goes on, she begins to question whether the Grinch is truly mean and evil and if there’s more to the story. As we find out, the Grinch was raised like any other child but always seemed different, hating Christmas and having a beard at the age of eight. Being the target of bullying scarred him for life which is why he now spends his time in solitude with his dog, Max, on a garbage mountain – dreading the upcoming 1000th Whobilation! 

Jim Carrey is truly shining in his role as the Grinch, bring the titular character to life. He’s taunting and sneaking, sneering and snorting, dreading the day of Christmas and really seems to be this mean-spirited mind that just seems to be there to ruin other people’s days. All of this is directed well and while I love his acting and the expressions that Carrey is able to pull off, I’m not entirely sure if it really was that important to focus more on his demeanour. Like, I get it. The Grinch is supposed to be this bad green guy living alone while everyone seems jolly and cheerful in the city. The contrast is established well and it works. But as time goes on, I would have loved to see some change. Instead, the movie focuses on the mean parts of the Grinch (and his backstory) whenever they show the Grinch… but the Grinch doesn’t get all that much screentime to really add depth to the character. 

Most of the movie, after all, revolves around the Whos and most importantly, Cindy. While she’s adorable in her role and always curious about people’s intentions and feelings, I just feel like the movie has not done enough with its characters. Cindy feels like more of a plot device than an actual figure in a story, let alone the main character.

The Whos of Whoville, adults and children alike, are all endazzled and charmed by Christmas anticipation. They all just follow tradition and follow their leader, the antagonist of the story played by Jeffrey Tambor. Nothing seems to change, everything is the same and it gets boring. The characters of the story shouldn’t be as tolerant with the status quo. If I was a Who and if I was looking forward to the big day like that, I’d want to make it the best Christmas ever. I’d want to make it even better than before. 

The only character with intentions like that is Cindy who joyfully nominates the Grinch as the Cheermaster for the 1000th Whobilation! The audacity! I like it!

While it’s an interesting twist in the story, it seems as if Cindy is only there so that the story can move forward. Without Cindy, the Grinch wouldn’t have come down over Christmas. Without Cindy’s goodwill and intentions, the Grinch wouldn’t have been driven to the point where he’d steal the Christmas presents. Without Cindy, the Whos in Whoville wouldn’t have understood that Christmas isn’t all about presents and spending money but rather about spending this great holiday with the people you love and appreciate. Cindy’s a great character, don’t get me wrong, and Taylor Momsen did a great job bringing life to this pig-snorted girl… but there could have been more. There could have been a change in the people at an earlier time in the movie. When the Grinch finally arrives to get his award, the Whos are frightened by his appearance and his manners… but all of a sudden they just flick the switch and they accept that he’s just as much a Who as everyone else.

Being a kids movie, I understand that the gags and gimmicks, the jokes and little sketches, and all of that are important to fill out air… but I feel like the movie could have had so much more than just that. There could have been more change, more on the topics of “What is Christmas about?” and “What makes a good Who a good Who?” but instead… it just falls flat. Adults will enjoy the occasional innuendo or dark joke here and there, that completely went over my head when I watched it ages ago. Christine Baranski, playing Martha May Whovier, really adds a… different flavour to the movie. But personally speaking, while I love the movie and the characters, I would have wished for more. I would have liked it if they went more in-depth with how the Grinch, the titular character, feels and changes, but they ended up merely touching on it instead, leaving much to desire for boring people like me.

The plot itself works, though. It’s a great movie. It made me chuckle plenty of times and the occasional song here and there really made it all the move enjoyable. The world of the Whos and the Grinch is wonderfully Christmas-y and glim and bright but while red is one of the main-colours, it’s not as bright and shiny as Santa’s clothes… but rather dark and muddy, showing that there is more potential for this Christmas to become better and showing that there lies more under the wrapping paper and mistletoes.

All in all, a great movie to watch with your loved ones in this wonderful time, despite the criticism that I had at the depth of the topics and subjects that the movie touches on. I’d really recommend it to ya if you’re still searching for a great movie to watch. It’s twenty years old at this point and, believe me, or not, Ms Magi hasn’t seen it until last Saturday and she loved it to bits.

Finishing post-review thoughts: 

I haven’t really thought about how to write movie reviews before. I would have thought that it works the same as with game reviews where you start at one point, start writing, look into your notes, and just end up finishing it up eventually. Movie reviews are different as you need to be more aware of spoilers and what you can talk and cannot talk about. With Christmas movies, you basically know how it’s going to turn out anyway, so that’s a different story, but personally speaking, I’m not entirely sure if my thoughts on it aren’t potentially too analytical or if they maybe even go too far into the interpretation. 

After writing it up, I wanted to see if Peril has written about this movie in particular yet but apparently, there is no post on it available just yet. As far as other reviewers out there go, I don’t really like the style of many others and hence just didn’t check on other bloggers, but I’m sure there will be plenty of critics out there, just waiting to give me feedback on my first-ever movie review. I’d appreciate that a ton. In hindsight, this post turned out quite well. It doesn’t really feature any spoilers and while it doesn’t go too in-depth on the movie’s score and the graphics and all of that, I feel like it’s still a solid review. Maybe straying away from the visible and audible was a good choice after all, though, as I have no clue about componists and that kind of stuff.

And yes, I criticised the story somewhat… and I referred to the Whos as pig-nosed characters… But I feel like you can criticise something and still like it… and the Whos do kind of look like they’ve got inverted pig-snouts on their faces… I mean, they’re adorable… but also kind of weird, which is great.

Anyways, I hope you’re having a great time. Stay safe and healthy and regardless of what’s going on and how 2020 has been, I wish you a few happy holidays, a merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

I’m not a gamer

So, yesterday, I made a post on a couple of topics, including toxicity, bad game design encouraging certain , “tryhards”, the terminology of “being a gamer”, gatekeeping and other stuff. My problem with that post was that it started with a question, then it suddenly branched out into three different topics and at the end, it concluded without ever answering the question. That’s what I’d consider a confusing and bad post. 

So, I edited the post and it didn’t help bring my point across because that post was overloaded and bad in quality. Hence, I’m splitting it up into multiple posts, each dedicated to their own topic so that I can get my idea across as intended. After all, I’m really bad at putting my thoughts into words and I should just write about one thing instead of trying to add in more and more herbs to the soup, if that makes sense.

This post is about “being a gamer”. 

A while ago, I had this experience with a German streamer who I followed for a bit who wanted to learn English. I thought that that was cute and wanted to help, so we hopped into Valorant and played a few rounds and I corrected him whenever he did use words in the wrong way, which he really found helpful.

During one of the games, he got frustrated. He was playing Jett, a duelist-class agent that has high mobility and an ultimate with some nice kill-potential. I was playing Sage, a support-class agent that has zone-control with an ice wall and a slow area but that can also heal and revive people. Sage doesn’t have any damaging abilities. Other people in our team would play Raze and Pheonix, as well, which are also duelists with tools in their kit to kill people with. Raze is also able to one-shot people with three of her abilities, which is major bullshit btw. 

That guy’s frustration came from him doing really well with 27 kills and us still losing the game. I, on the other hand, died a bunch and got a lot of assists for helping my team kill people – but I didn’t get that many kills. My KDA was, hence, not as good as his, so he insulted and “flamed” me. I told him that my or his KDA or stats don’t matter if we end up still losing the game because of bad team play. In the end, you can be the best player on your team but it doesn’t matter if you don’t win – and winning was our common goal. 

Roger said a while ago that there is always someone who wins and someone who loses in competitive games. You cannot change that unless it’s a tie of sorts… but those are quite unlikely with overtime mechanics in place and that kind of stuff. It’s a given that you cannot always win or that there is always someone better than you in any game. 

So, this guy who was insulting me on his stream also said that I’m not a “gamer” because I don’t care about those stats. And it’s true. I don’t care about stats and care more about having fun in games. Winning is also fun btw so obviously it’s not that I don’t care about winning and doing my best. I’m just fine with losing if I’m able to gain experience, practice or just have fun.

Practically, I’m really bad at FPS games and even worse in Valorant as I haven’t had any practice in it for quite some time. I also haven’t played CS:GO or any of those other games, so I’m lacking experience. The only way for me to improve would be to play more. Playing more, however, requires me to have fun as I’ll get frustrated if the game gets boring, stale or if I just don’t enjoy it. I told him beforehand that I’m not good at the game and when he insulted me based on numbers without acknowledging that him playing Solo and for his stats only in a TEAM GAME wasn’t exactly “good” either,… well…. I just didn’t wanna bother with him anymore. I felt that he was toxic, selfish and honestly quite cringy. Him throwing a tantrum over me not being a “gamer” was childish at best. Him rushing in to kill people without pinging, communicating or saying anything was really bad, actually. Him getting a kill but then dying, alone, with the spike on him, is a bad move. But that doesn’t matter apparently when you have good stats, right? Because people just look at the stats and not your individual plays or whatever.

So, what’s a “gamer” then? 

First up, I won’t include the urban dictionary definition because of obvious reasons.

Apparently, a gamer is someone who is not contempt with losing and who only cares about winning no matter what playstyle and what tool they have to resort to. Cheating or hacking is most likely not included in that definition. Ninja said that someone who is contempt with losing has lost twice and that you have to get angry and rage when you lose, to be considered a gamer – or something like that.

My problem with that sort of definition is that it is kind of wrong? I mean, it doesn’t include casual gamers, otome gamers, mobile gamers, simulation-type gamers, and other types. I’d say that a “gamer” is someone who plays games a lot. A “competitive gamer” would be someone as mentioned above who is very competitive (duh.) and who really wants to improve and get better at the game. A “casual gamer” would be someone who rather focuses on having a fun experience and enjoying their time. 

Problem is that no matter what my personal definition is, there will always be people that won’t acknowledge it. “You’re not a gamer” is a form of gatekeeping that excludes me because I’m not honing my skills in certain games. It also excludes people that play games casually and people that play other types of games that cannot really be played competitively. There are a lot of people in “gaming communities” that don’t consider Visual Novels, otome games, mobile games and simulation-type games as “games”. I mean they are games but if a “gamer” is someone who “plays games” then those people that play the game types that I mentioned above aren’t “gamers” or “true gamers” in their eyes

That’s what I noticed in a lot of places like Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, and Discord. It’s gatekeeping at its finest and I don’t like it. It’s unhealthy for communities and toxic, at best. That’s why I don’t consider myself a “gamer” because that term is just oozing with toxicity. It’s a term that people use to label others while excluding other people. A “gamer” is more often than not almost obsessed with winning or obsessed with having high stats. You cannot always do good, though, and despite what Ninja may say on the topic, losing is completely fine as long as you did your best. There is always someone who is better than you after all. In the time that you rage or insult or badmouth others, you could easily try again and get better by reflecting on what you did wrong and what you can do better. And then you get better. That’s the way it is.

So, to sum it up, there is not really any definition of what a “gamer” is that literally everyone would accept, duh. There is a meme, as Jett and Dan pointed out once in my stream, of “getting your gamer card revoked” for liking certain types of games or certain game mechanics (e.g. escort missions) – and that’s really just gatekeeping, in my eyes. People that want to belong to a gaming community get excluded for not being “gamers” because they do things differently. 

Obviously, people will always be assholes and the only real solution to that is to ignore them. If you want to be a gamer, be a gamer. Fuck their opinions, just go for it. Nobody can stop you. If you want to consider yourself a core gamer or a true gamer or a veteran gamer or whatever, then just call yourself that. 

If someone calls me a “gamer”, then I’ll politely say that I’m not a “gamer” because I don’t like the term and because I have negative connotations with it. It’s a terminology that is oozing with toxicity and that seems gatekeep-ish and that does more harm than good, in my opinion. Also, I don’t like labels like that, be it “otter” or “gamer” or “otaku” or whatever.

Rather, I’m “someone who likes to play games” or rather “gaming is a big part of my life” or a “big hobby of mine”. Terminology like that puts it better into words and really helps me because it’s not negative or positive. It’s just neutral and objective. Similarly, I like watching anime but I wouldn’t consider myself an “otaku” because I have negative connotations with the term – or rather, it’s an insult, to begin with, and I hate the anime community because of my negative experiences with a lot of people in said community. Being an “otaku” and “liking anime” are two different things for me, personally, with a very small difference.

Wearing the “same trousers” and wearing “trousers that look the same” are two things as well, btw.

Furthermore, I’d like to say that I don’t care about how you play your games. You can be a speedrunner (which is awesome btw!), a competitive gamer (I play games competitively as well, at times), a casual gamer (I mostly play games casually), a mobile gamer (it’s still a game, innit?), or anything else. You can be someone who plays games or someone who is a gamer. Whatever floats your boat. I’m not critiquing the way people play their games but rather the terminology and the gatekeeping that I associate with it.

I just wanted to comment on the terminology of “being a gamer” and why I don’t like the terminology, personally

What are your thoughts on the matter? What are statements that would “get your gamer card revoked”? Have you had any toxic experiences with gatekeeping in regards to being or not being a “gamer”? Would you consider yourself a “gamer” or rather “someone who plays games”? Do you see any difference at all? 

Cheers!

Mystery Blogger Award! We got atagged by Meg!

So, Quietschisto dared to tag us for the Sunshine Blogger Award and I wanted to make a post about that one but then I got reminded that a certain geeky gal called Megan actually tagged me for the Mystery Blogger Award… in March! Oh no, we’re super late! Meghan, thanks for the tag. I honestly forgot about it because other stuff came up! 

The rules are a bit of the usual, I guess:

  • Thank the blogger and link to them (which should be a given)
  • Display the award logo on your blog (which I’m gonna do in this post)
  • Mention the creator of the award + link
  • List the rules
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself
  • Answer five questions from the nominator
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question
  • Nominate 10 to 20 bloggers
  • Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog (though, I’d just message them where possible)
  • Share the link to your best post

Now, as far as the award goes… I’m just going to copy-paste this from Meghan’s site as it seems to be a quote on her end as well.

“According to the creator, Okoto, “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”

I’m not sure if my blog captivates, inspires or motivates, but I sure do know that I love blogging and that it brings me fun, joy and entertainment. I’m really bad at taking compliments and I have yet to get better at that but since that last part is there, I thought… you know… might as well go for that. 🙂 

Three things about me:

  • My eyesight is really bad. That’s mostly because of me growing really fast as a kid and my eyes just couldn’t keep up or something… and eventually, it started to reflect in my eyesight getting worse and worse. Right now I’m at -3.75 and -4.00 diopters and effectively, I could get it fixed but I’m scared of potential risks involved in surgery/laser-therapy and hence, I just rock these glasses until it gets better on its own or until I have time and guts to do that laser thing. 
  • I’m insanely bad at introducing myself and telling people something about myself. This may come as no surprise since I did that post, ages ago, and now I’m doing this thing here and the “three things about me” are turning a bit meta and boring… but yeah, I’m super bad at this kind of stuff, so I’m just listing the first/best three things I could come up with. 
  • My favourite colour is purple and I nearly would have gone to Prom in a purple suit… but then I found this Bordeaux red suit and fell in love with it… I looked fabulous if I do say so myself, although I would have been the best-looking person on the Prom even with the purple suit. Now, my self-esteem is getting better overall but it’s still hard to say that kinda stuff about myself and like actually mean it… although, I know that all of my fellow students were boring and had these lame blue and black suits… this is a party and not a funeral, nerds. 

Now, if I were to link my “best post”, I wouldn’t actually know which post to link. In terms of “best-performing” post, I’d clearly have to go with my review on Fall Guys that did get an overwhelming amount of views in the first couple and days and is still outperforming all of my other posts. But I actually don’t like that post too much as it was a bit rough and just kind of turned into a review after a while… and I don’t know. My “best post” would probably be more like my review on Outer WildsBefore I Forget or Girl By The Sea. I really enjoyed writing those and I noticed that I did a “good job” with those reviews while I was editing them. Hence, uh, there’s that!

The Questions that Meghan answered were quite interesting although I find the obsession with aliens a bit concerning… But let’s get into her questions:

  • What game or gaming moment made you laugh the hardest?

I honestly can’t remember the last time that I really “laughed out loud”/LOL’d at a game. Hades, however, has a few nice bits and pieces here and there in the conversations that I found quite fun. There’s also this one scene in DMC: Devil May Cry where Dante is facing this big giant spider-guy and they just say “fuck you” to each other for a solid minute. “Fuck you.” – “No, fuck you!” – “No, fuck you.” – “No, fuck you!!!!” – or something like that, which I found quite funny at the time. And then there are some badass-ish moments in Serious Sam that I found quite nice… generally, I kind of laugh because of certain moments but usually, I don’t really “laugh out loud”. 

  • Which character (games, book, shows, etc.) would be your best friend and why?

Now, this is a tough question as well since I don’t think it’s a good idea to get more friends. In our day and age, it’s hard enough to maintain healthy and close relationships to people already… and now you want me to add another character to my five offline friends? I don’t think that’s gonna work too well… unless of course, it’s Orpheus from Hades or Echidna from Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu’s 2nd Season (Part 1). Orpheus would be a very chill friend to be around. We could just hang around and be all melancholic, depressed and romantic together. Potentially, a song or two by him could lift the mood at times… 

BUT I don’t think we should choose a character strictly for our own benefits! No, no! Instead, we should consider them friends and think about how we could help them. I could cuddle with Orpheus and give him feedback in regards to his new writings… and we could go for a drink together for some inspiration or I could listen to him about him and Euridice and his love and all of that. I’d like to help him.

Meanwhile, Echidna would just be cool to hang around with. She’s an interesting character that knows a ton (meaning that we’d be able to talk about a lot, potentially) and we could have tea parties together, minus body fluids. I’d love to share my tea collection with more friends! With the pandemic and all of that, I sadly don’t exactly get the chance to share my tea collection with others… 

Alas, I’d be able to grant Echidna my knowledge and listen to her and talk to her and stuff, which is extra cool since I’m alive and she’s dead. Uhm, I would also be able to provide her with some of my favourite teas here including a liquorice-mint-tea and a green-tea with vanilla in it! That’s gotta be better than body fluids! I feel like that could work out quite well.

  • What life skill(s) have you learned from playing video games?

I’d say none but I guess that’d be a lie. After a lot of thinking, I’d go for “speaking and typing English” although a lot of that came from media consumption in general as well as school… so movies, shows, music, poems, books, games, and lessons all helped me learn English. Through video games, I connected with other people and was able to share my thoughts on things and talk to them and learn more, obviously. By getting to know a lot of people from all over the world, I got to talk to more people – using my English skills while also improving them. In the end, I wouldn’t say that video games taught me English… rather, they improved my English a bunch or they gave me opportunities to learn more and get better. 

Alas, I didn’t really get any better at any life skill(s) thanks to video games, unless you accept my previous answer which shouldn’t count since it’s not through video games alone but all of that stuff.

  • How did you pick your gaming username (or forum username)?

Oh, this is fun. I made two posts on this. In this one, I mention it a bit below while also mentioning a discussion about gender-/race-locked classes. And in this one, I just talk about my username in general. 

  • We’re gonna hang out today, what do you pick for us to do?

Oh, darn, Meg… I’m super late. I hope you don’t mind that I’m nearly seven months late for this but… nothing special, it’s a bit late after all. Tea time for sure! We could also stream some co-op games on Twitch together (since I gotta be live soon anyways) if you bring your own controller. 🙂 I could also bake something real quick or make us some food and, since you don’t live nearby, I guess you take the bed and I’ll sleep on that seat-like thingy over there or at my GF’s. Does that work? When will ya be around? Any food preferences? 

Apart from that, coffee in the morning and since you won’t get a plane back to St. Louis anytime soon (heh, pandemic), we could go to a bar or a few in tomorrow evening and visit the botanic gardens, the museums around here, and some other interesting places tomorrow. Feels like the standard program for “tourists” and visitors from other places. 

Oh, I also gotta show you the monorail. Wuppertal is famous for it. You’re gonna love it.

My questions for the nominees:

  • You have to ban one game for eternity. This game shall never be played or watched again and nobody is allowed to talk about it. Which game do you pick?
  • How was your day? What have you been up to? Hope you’re well. 🙂
  • If you could take any vehicle/plane/etc. from any game/show/book/whatever to use in our world, what would you pick and where would you go?
  • This one’s weird! It’s not a question… it’s an answer! “No, but the raisins certainly belong to this office.” – Find the question that this answer answers!
  • What’s your favourite Indie title that you personally love that nobody seems to know?

My nominees!

Mr Peril from containsmoderateperil

Wilhelm Arcturus from TAGN

Gray from Gray’s Otome

Tipa from chasingdings

Krikket from NerdGirlThoughts

Stingite from The Friendly Necromancer

Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut

Nait “Naithin” Thin

that one guy from that one blog that does those posts, y’know? (Quietschisto)

I forgot his name but his Palico in MHW is called “Big Chungus” (Frostilyte)

And, I don’t usually do tags all that often but when I do, it’s a long post. Hope you liked this one. 

As for the nominated bloggers, I appreciate these bloggers mentioned above a lot. I don’t read as many blog posts lately compared to the past few months… but now that my last exam is all done and dusted, I’ll be able to get back to that again, hopefully catching up with all of these cool and entertaining people (and Frosti and Quietschisto). 🙂 While there are a lot more bloggers out there that I appreciate and read a bunch, I didn’t want to nominate too many as I’d end up running out of bloggers to tag for that other tag post that I gotta do… I mean 10 are already a ton… Alas, these are the ones that I read the most lately and I gotta do Quietschisto’s tag as well and will nominate others for that one. 😀 

Cheers!

Edit: On publish, I didn’t check Meg’s name’s spelling and ended up writing “Meghan” instead of “Megan”. This is now fixed.

The Stray Sheep + Viridi

August 9th, 2020. I had a stupid idea. I wanted to review Viridi but growing plants in real-time is taking… real-time ages… not just in-game ages. Hence, I thought, I might as well play it some more, collecting some screenshots, talking about things and reading blog posts. 

August 21st, 2020. I’m writing a post on blog posts, I’ve read and liked while mixing in some chill screenshots from Viridi and presenting to you the plants and bloggers we’ve got here. The screenshots at the time were taken without the custom names… so in the future there will be names there instead.

First up, we’ve got Roger aka Mr Peril from Contains Moderate Peril. I really like Roger’s posts and opinions on things. More often than not, I’m in awe as to how elegant his wording is and how many new words I learn when reading his posts… His content usually consists of (movie) reviews, comments and discussions. I say “discussions” as he discusses certain issues, such as “tryhards” and “losing” in games. I really liked his insights on the topic of “tryhards” and different ways of winning… or rather losing games. And his most recent post is about him and Mrs P visiting Kent – it’s lighthearted, lovely and somewhat cute, I’d say. I really enjoyed reading that and can wholeheartedly recommend Roger’s blog to anyone who likes discussion-type posts and movie reviews. 🙂 

In Viridi, I’ve named an Aloe Vera plant after Peril… Before writing that post back then calling to the planting shovels, I already had some plants in there and some were bigger than others already, so I ended up naming this big prickly Aloe Vera plant after Peril. There is no exact reason as to why. I just thought it would be fitting. Although he requested that, there was no venus flytrap… but I think the “thorns” and “nudges” of this green boi should be satisfactory, too. 

Next up, we have Tipa’s blog from Chasing Dings. I only know Tipa now for a few months but apparently, she’s been blogging for quite some time (just like many other Blaugustans), so she’s a bit of a veteran, I guess. She posts a bunch of different things on her blog, though a lot of it seems to be about MMOs. Lately, obviously, with Blaugust and everything, there is an influx of other writing prompts in there… but overall, a bunch of personal posts, a bunch of posts on MMOs and other games, and here and there some screenshot/review posts. A post that I really enjoyed and only read today was her post on underrated content, as it really depicts one of my opinions that- Well, you should read it yourself. 🙂 Apart from that, I really adore her post on Townscaper, showcasing her creation, especially as I’ve never heard of Townscaper before! Her Spiffing Brit reference in her Blaugust-Ketchup post made my day, and her latest post on sequels and reboots is really well-written and features some interesting views. 

Back in the Blaugust pot, I got a free seedling for this week… a cheiridopsis denticulata plant… and I thought that Tipa might like this one. Again, there are no venus flytraps or piranha plants from Super Mario or whatever… but this one is going to be a surprise. 

Belghast is represented by a big green Aeonium plant. It kind of reminded me of a pillar of sorts… which is quite fitting since Bel is always organising these events! 

As far as his blog goes, I’ve been meaning to read his posts on Horizon Zero Dawn but I can’t do that just yet, due to spoilers. I’m currently still playing it and despite it being rather old, the PC release isn’t yet… and I’m not even in Meridian, yet, so I don’t think it’s going to be that pleasing if I were to spoil myself now. Bel posts a lot on World of Warcraft, Destiny and Final Fantasy 14 but I don’t actually play any of those games… or rather, I hop into Destiny 2 every now and then but lately, I haven’t been active in Destiny 2 at all. Regardless of that, I enjoy reading his posts and reviews. His writing style is pleasant and his posts on FF14 and WoW always make me want to play some of that… but at the same time, I don’t really have the time right now for MMOs. His latest post on FF14’s Yo-Kai Watch Event was very interesting and for a bit, I got FOMO and wanted to actually download, install and push through FF14… but it seems as if the event has already been around last year… and it came back this year… so it probably will come around next year as well. I can also recommend his post on the goodest foxxo, because of somewhat obvious reasons, uwu. 

The snail in the Blaugust pot is named after me. I read a bunch of posts… and while I’d like to read more, I am in a bit of a hurry as I’ve got to leave tomorrow early and as I’ll be away for a whole week to visit my family members. I still need to do some of my laundry here while also cleaning up, doing the dishes and get some other stuff done. On top of that, I’ll have to schedule my Blaugust post for tomorrow… it’s finished… but I’d also like to edit it again since I’m not that happy about it. Apart from that, I still have a few drafts on the other prompts that I want to get out in the next few days but I guess I’ll have to work on my laptop for that. 

Hope you enjoyed this post. I think I’ll do more posts like these on post-recommendations in the future with the other plants in the pot. In hindsight, I have mixed feelings about it for whatever reason, but I’m sure it will be fine. 

Cheers!

TSS#70 – Blaugust Prompt #4 – Underrated Content?

Today, we’ve got another more “difficult” prompt: “What type of content do you feel is severely underrated?”

This time around the prompt’s not difficult due to me struggling with words but rather because of the ambiguity of it. Roger pointed in his post out that it could be referencing writing and blogging… but also could be about video games, TV, movies, videos, etc. 

But just like Roger, I’ll stick to the first meaning of the prompt as it’s a blogging event after all. Also, I think I might be able to actually work with this interpretation of the prompt in contrast to the other one. 

So, at first, I couldn’t really think of how to approach this post… factually, I should bring out numbers and stats that – at least in my case – indicate content that doesn’t do well… despite actually being good. The problem with this is that there are many factors as to why a post is not doing good. Maybe the category that I’m blogging in is just too saturated at the moment and hence, people pick other blog posts over mine. Or maybe I didn’t get picked up by Google or Social Media algorithms, hence not getting as much coverage for my post… another reason for missing views would be a boring prompt or topic… or the post just sucked.

My review on Necrobarista actually did quite well despite it being somewhat niche!

Either way, there are a lot of reasons for a post not doing too well but I know for a fact that a lot of the huge Indie blogs and websites out there rely on specific posts (i.e. tier lists, top 10 lists, clickbait-y articles, etc.) to reel in those views. These posts would be what I’d call “overrated content”.

Apart from “TOP 10 UPCOMING ROGUELIKE GAMES!!!11!” or other posts in that general category that could all be copy-pasted without anyone noticing, there are also other forms of more rentable posts. Recently, I’ve been featured in a “Top 40 Indie Blogs” list on Feedspot on the 11th spot, which I’m quite happy about, but I noticed that a lot of these blogs and websites that are being featured on there are essentially either platforms to buy games (Indiegala, itch.io, etc.) OR forums OR sites like Alpha Beta Gamer that are able to post three posts per day due to the small and compact posts. And there is nothing wrong with that but I noticed that in contrast to that my posts are doing considerably less well… which is because of my lengthy review format. 

“In today’s day and age”, people don’t want to read a post for five to ten minutes to get a conclusion on whether or not to buy a game. They’d rather get a TL;DR at the beginning summarizing the most important bits and pieces before clicking off the side. The actual post wouldn’t get read by those people since it’s not worth their time… With posts that are generally 1100 words long, mine are probably too long for most people. Even with my rather colloquial speech and informal choice of words, my posts may not be approachable for “the masses” as they are just too long. And I’m already cutting down on them – after all, it’s not 3.9k words anymore like with my Moonlighter review… 

Good question!

Therefore, I’d call longer In-Detail (see what I did there?… or what I didn’t do there?) Reviews “underrated”, subjectively speaking.

I used to play the games that I reviewed for a rather long time, then spend about three to four hours working on the actual post, writing it up, editing it, and all of that before then working on the layout, the screenshots, and other things that needed to be done. Overall, it took me ages to finish one review. Ever since I cut down on the length and went for 1k words instead of 3-4k, it has become less work although it still requires as much effort since I often write too much and need to cut down on unnecessary words, sentences, and paragraphs. In the end, it became a lot easier to write up a review or two per week.

If I were to cut down on even more words and essentially just go for a TLDR instead of the full review, I’d end up with micro-posts that could be shipped out daily if not even twice per day. The problem with those is that I’d need to play the games for a time to be able to write about them… unless of course, I do it like some of the bigger outlets that do not even write about their own experience with the game but just report on a game coming out. That’s essentially what I’m doing with the Lookout Post… but I try to be still quite subjective and rather personal about it. I’m not going to turn the posts over there into fact sheets about games coming out and hand out recommendations without actually having played any games. 

My post on Critters for Sale is a post that didn’t do too well view-wise although it’s a lovely game and although I feel like my post is quite neat… whatever^^

In the case of Children of Morta, for instance, I received a review key a week before release with an embargo for the review. I played about ten to twelve hours of it if not more before heading to WordPress to write about the game. If I had played more of that, I would have seen how repetitive it could get and how often it can turn into a grindfest of sorts… I also didn’t get to test out co-op at all… so that’s a bummer. If I had played more of the game, I would have known about that, but I also wanted to get the post out while the game is still “fresh” and “new”.

If someone bought the game and would have then regretted it after ten hours because it turned rather grindy… then that would have sucked for them and I would have felt bad for that… I still play it every now and then and I really do enjoy even the grindy aspects of it, but that’s not what my review is saying. Alas, I’ll have to revisit that review and post a follow-up eventually once I played even more of the game and even unlocked the new character. 

Bigger outlets, though, didn’t even comment on a lot of the issues that I noted down. They didn’t see a lot of the good points, either. They just commented on this game existing and it coming out with information about the first hour or two of gameplay, which is honestly quite the bummer. The bigger outlets are essentially mass-producing content like that: Short reviews with little to no insights on the actual game and with a lot of things shrugged off. I don’t personally like that and I want to create better reviews in the future and hence am sticking to the underrated content – also known as the long Indietail Reviews (now I did it!) instead of the overrated TLDR-post with 200 words at most and at least five pages so that they can farm more clicks.

Note: There are of course bigger sites that are doing a great job with their reviews… but those usually also care about the quality of their content or they have multiple authors that are doing that for a living, so it should be natural that they’re not shitposting for the sake of easy views. 

So, what’s the conclusion of this post… Longer reviews aren’t the best way to grow but I don’t really care because I don’t want to shitpost either. If I look at stats, I can see that a lot of my reviews are doing really well (-> which is something I’ll talk about in a different post) while some others are not doing as well but it just depends on different factors after all… And while longer reviews (I love reading them on other sites) are quite superior despite being underrated, I can still understand that shorter TLDR-micro-posts are the way to go for big outlets that earn money using those posts.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Any thoughts on long/short reviews? Got any other ideas for overrated or underrated content? Let me know! 

The next post in the “Big Blaugust Promptapalooza Blog Crawl” (BBPBC?!?!?!) is everwake whose post should already be out since I’m late. Check them and their blog out! You can find Roger’s post over here again, so give it a read! It’s always a pleasure to read a post by him, especially as he’s someone who shaped my view on languages. 🙂 

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

TSS#69 – Blaugust Prompt #3 – Media shapes your worldview?

Blaugust Day 3 is here, and I’m late since I struggled with putting my thoughts into words.

“What are some key sources of media (games/movies/etc.) that have shaped your worldview?”

I do not like this prompt. 

My worldview is based on all the experiences that I accumulated over the course of the last 21 years of my life. 13 years out of those 21 consisted of me getting bullied and harassed in school. Those years really shaped me and made me the person that I am today. Some of the issues that I amassed during that time still haunt me to this day and only recently I got told that certain people have been gaslighting me… even though I thought that they were helping. Toxic and abusive relationships I had in the past, still haunt me to this day as I still struggle with my self-esteem and how I view myself. 

Alas, I feel like I’m a bad person to talk about how things shape you and how your worldview changes over time because of media. I noticed that a lot of bad people have made me feel bad and alas my worldview ended up being the whole “love and let love, live and let live” thingy that I’m going for and I feel like it works… somewhat? 

I guess I could elaborate on this but my last few attempts of elaborating have gone horribly wrong and I don’t want to make people worry or anything like that, so I just won’t… instead, we’ve got some screenshots here from my journey in DS3 that should tie quite well into Roger’s post since he also talks about different kinds of posts and since screenshots are always fun, right?  

The next post in line is by Mr Peril. Check out Mailvaltar’s post again if you haven’t already!

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

TSS#64 – Mystery Blogger Award

The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

Okoto Enigma

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

So, first up, thanks to Frostilyte for the nomination. I appreciate it. 

If anyone doesn’t know Frosti, check him out. You won’t regret it. 

Well, now… uh… three things about me, I guess?

  1. Despite my young age, I get flattered when I get ID’d and I tend to get mad at younger people calling me “Sir”. It’s just weird. I don’t look that old, or do I? It may be due to my height (I’ll just count all of that as one fact) of 194cm but it’s still weird for youngsters to use the formal form of “you” or “sir” or whatever when speaking to me… and I’ll have to get used to it when I become a teacher, I guess?
  2. I prefer English over German. I don’t exactly know why but I read more in English than in German. My copy of the Necronomicon, for instance, was probably the oldest title that I’ve bought. I had to look up every fifth word or something at the beginning until I learned all the different synonyms for “horrendous” or “horrible”. Apart from Lovecraft’s short stories, I’m also a huge fan of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest”, which is one of his few socio-critical comedies… and well, as far as shows, movies and games go, I tend to have them turned to English as well instead of German as the dub quite often sounds better in English.
  3. I used to practice Kendo, Iaido and Iodo in my hometown. I’d show you my old gear, including pictures of me in my hakama, gi, and my armour as well as equipped with my shinai, bokken and my io… but I’ve sold them all to make space.
It’s pride month, so here’s a pride mage hat! Happy Pride Month!

Questions from Frostilyte:

1.) What has been the biggest change to your daily routine during the (coron)apocalypse?

Well, mostly, it’s the time at my PC that I’m trying to reduce. I’m turning blue light filters on more often and I try to go stretch and take a few steps on the balcony after every class to make sure that I get that Vitamine D going as well as all of that oxygen. I guess my gaming-habits have also decreased over the course of time since I basically spend so much time at the PC anyways nowadays with all of the online classes. Alas, that probably is the biggest change… but then again, there are also things like “reminding myself to bring my mask” when going out to buy groceries… or stuff like not wearing a shirt all the time… 

2.) What game are you most looking forward to?

That’s a hard question actually since there’re so many cool games coming out soon… Well, up there at the top would be the games by the devs that we interviewed in the past but also games like Eastward, Relic Hunters Legend, Boyfriend Dungeon, Haven, Metamorphosis, and Witchmarsh… but if I really had to pick one game that I’m looking forward to the most, it would be Drake Hollow by The Molasses Flood (the guys behind The Flame In The Flood). It’s something that I’ve been excited about for ages now. I’m following The Molasses Flood on Twitter, IG and other platforms for quite some time now and I’m in the process of preparing three posts of that specific game, so I guess it would be fair to say that I’m most excited about that game. 

3.) What’s the first you want to do when things go back to normal?

Punch Frosti for the covid-themed questions – just kidding, it was a different time back then… in May!

Uhm, I guess, go to university? I’m really looking forward to that and the cantine food, as well as going to the literature club meetings, and meeting everyone live… it’s been a while and it’s not the same over discord. I’m going to be able to hit the bars again with some friends… and I can go to the Sauna again, which is going to be fantastic! That’s going to be quite cool 😀 But then again apart from those things, there really aren’t all that many things that would change for me (apart from not needing a mask, of course). 

4.) What is your favourite type of fruit juice? 

I honestly don’t really drink all that much fruit juice. When I came back from my parents’ they also packed me up with a lot of orange juice and some other multi-vitamin-stuff… but I personally don’t like orange at all. I guess if I really had to pick one, I’d say Lychee. I love Lychee juice. I used to frequent this Asian bistro that had a bunch of Asian sodas and juices there, including rice-peach-juice and lychee juice – and well, I also like Lychees so I guess it makes sense that I’d like the juice. 

My second choice would be Mango or Strawberry juice, I think.

5.) What’s something you accomplished recently that you’re proud of?

Oh, well, first up, recently a site called Feedspot actually put up a list of the “Top 40 Indie Game Blogs and Websites for Indie Game Enthusiasts in 2020” and we got placed to the 11th spot there right between “indiegamereviewer.com” and “Indie Game Bundles”. Of course sites like itch.io, IndieGala, and the IndieGaming Reddit would be in the top 10 but I feel like it’s a huge accomplishment for someone like me to be up there in the top… uh… 12! And, well, by “someone like me” I mean someone with only a fraction of the followers that those other sides have! 

Alas, I’m really proud of that, I guess? I’ve been running this blog for almost a year now and it’s getting a lot of traffic these days, which is kind of frightening… but at the same time I really like the idea of actually having a voice when it comes to reviews and highlighting something that could be considered an “Indie Gem”. Obviously, I’m not posting Indie-only content… but I’m actually trying to work on more Indie-content these days as I really am enjoying the reviews and interviews and all of the research that I can do. 

Apart from that, we’ve hit 220 followers on Twitch, raised 140$ for the Trevor Project, unlocked the fourth emote slot (and we’re quite close to hitting the fifth one!) and we’re meeting new people all the time nowadays, which is a ton of fun! So, I guess I’m rather proud of that as well. 

Yup, this picture is resurfacing again! I love Tammy in this armour and screenshot, so naturally I’m going to use ‘er here!

Nominees:

When I thought of “blogs that not only captivate but also inspire and motivate”, I thought of a few… but since I can’t mention ALL of them and since I’m limited to “only 10-20”, I thought I’d go with these here. 🙂 

Mr Peril – Contains Moderate Peril 

It’s always a pleasure to talk to Peril and every single one of his posts is great and features at least five words that I have to google (again, remember, English is my third language). It’s great to read one of his posts and I’d recommend his blog to anyone interested in movie reviews, gaming-related content or comments on society and different issues. 

Naithin – Time To Loot

Naithin not only organises a lot of different events and collaboration opportunities for other bloggers (like the “To The Moon”-Play-Along or the Civ-Succession-Games) but also is a trendsetter when it comes to “Challenges” and is able to write a variety of different types of posts that I really am enjoying to read. I’ve only known Nait for a year now but I really have come to enjoy my time talking to him every now and then and it’s also a pleasure to be around him. Hell, he even showed Asheron’s Call to me – and the posts on that are among the most viewed on my blog right now!

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

TWRM – The Well-Red Mage

I guess this one could be counted as “cheating” as TWRM features a lot of guest-posts on their site. There are plenty of posts there by bloggers that I’d like to nominate but never get the chance to and essentially they all get to be mages on there. I could recommend any of the posts there and I’m sure there’s something for everyone on there! And TWRM himself also organizes events for all kinds of people like the Super Mario Multiverse event that happened on the 10th of March (Mar10 Day) and alas, I guess that’s quite inspiring and awesome! 

Jeff Brutlag – jeffbrutlag.com 

Jeff is a lovely streamer and blogger who is always worth checking out, I’d say. If you’re not into reading, check him out on Twitch and say hello. His community is nice and he is a really cool guy and reading some of his stuff really helped me with my coming-out (Oh, right, I’m bi!) and all of that. His streams are super wholesome and I love lurking in there every now and then while enjoying the sheer positivity coming from this beautiful man and his viewers!

His blog features a lot of LGBTQIA+ content but isn’t limited to that. There are also a lot of posts on other topics such as Twitch or NaNoWriMo or RL-stuff, so basically he’s a jack of all trades with a plethora of content to check out!

Quietschistopheles – RNG

Quietschisto from RNG is another German fellow writing English reviews on a blog. He’s quite cool to play games with and he, Frosti and I did a collaboration on Ring of Pain in the past. We also talked a bit here and there about drinking and sleeping and uh…

Quietschisto is an interesting guy which you can see on his blog as well. Not only does he have a plethora of posts on Assassin’s Creed and other games up but he also writes reviews (similar to Frosti and I) while also talking about cocktails and drinks and stuff, which is quite fun. I really recommend checking Quietschisto out if you’re a fan of any of that! 

Yup, this is from Dark Souls 3. Yup, I’m playing it right now. Yup, I’m dying a lot. 🙂

Lucius P. Merriweather – A Most Agreeable Time

Lucius over here was one of the first bloggers that I followed on WordPress after starting my blog that was NOT from Blaugust. So, that makes him special, I guess. Kind of at least… just a little bit… 

Jokes aside, I really enjoy his reviews, although I haven’t really read a lot of blog posts in the past few days… but whenever I saw something by Lucius over here, I tried to tune in and see for myself what he has written up. I really enjoy his reviews as they feature a different style from the ones that I tend to write or read. Lucius’ posts are easy to get into and hard to let go of. Definitely worth checking out! 🙂

Kim and Pete – LaterLevels

Not only are they a wonderful couple and entertaining streamers but they also did provide some nice insights into the world of blogging when I just started out. Information like why comments are so important or what spacers do. Obviously, there are also posts on video games and, again, collaborations with other people like the Play-Along where Kim is also participating in or The Great Blog Crawl 2020, where I originally wanted to take part in… but that kind of fell under the table. Kim also has a great community going on on a discord called The Support Role, which I’d recommend checking out as well if you’re interested in seeing streamers or bloggers from all over the world or if you’re in need of help or advice. The Support Role can also be found on Twitch, so uh… check them out! 

Frostilyte – Frostilyte Writes

I’m not entirely sure if this is allowed but Frosti is cool and you should check him out. Despite me misgendering him at the beginning (it’s Naithin’s fault!), we’re getting along quite well… and as Theme-Brothers we obviously have to nominate each other. 😀 Right? 

Frosti also writes reviews but also other types of content as well as posts about Derpy Pokémon Drawings that he did… so, there’s that. If you like that,… follow him or something. 😛 

So pretty!

TGD – The Gaming Diaries

GD (I have no clue how to call ‘er) has a lovely format called Seriously Geeky Sundays that I enjoy reading… the fact that it says “Sundays” in the title probably helps with figuring out when the post will be up, which is probably why I’m able to read it so often. Her streams are quite fine to lurk in and she does have these really cool posts about the games she played in every month and well, different topics on Sundays. It’s been fun to read her, so check her out. 🙂

Krikket – NerdGirlThoughts

Another review-blogger (as I’d call ‘er) who posts about stuff other than reviews as well. I feel like I’m mentioning the same things over and over again. Krikket is lovely. Her taste in games is quite different from mine but I enjoy reading her posts, especially as she’s also part of the succession games that the Blaugustans have going on right now! I’d recommend checking her out. I like her posts. You should, too. lol.

As my tenth nominee (Frosti probably doesn’t count since he nominated me),…

Belghast – Tales of the Aggronaut

His cats are just adorable! He organises the lovely Blapril/Blaugust event and writes a ton of posts about all kinds of games from Destiny 2 to TemTem or whatever else is currently cool. I really enjoy reading his discussion-type posts as well as listening to his podcast and when I got to know the Blaugust-people he was the only blogger that I’ve actually heard of prior to joining the discord… so, adding him on steam and being able to talk to him was kind of huge for me back then. 😀 

So, yeah, these are my nominees. They are all quite captivating, inspiring and motivating! Really recommending all of them. Please check them out! 🙂

Both of my drawings… the Loan Shark and the Aheago-Rabbit battling it out! :O POG!

Uh, I need to share links to my “best posts”. Well,… this is going to be a tough one since I like a whole bunch of my posts a lot… 

Honestly, I hate this point. Screw that. If you really want to know my favourite, go to this link and search for it yourself!

And as far as posts go that are probably “up there” in the top-something, I’d probably go for my reviews on The Flame In The FloodRisk of Rain 1Omensight, or Moonlighter. I put a huge chunk of work into those posts but they’re horribly flawed with all kinds of typos and spelling errors in them. Some of them are also way too long… but despite their flaws, they’re still my posts, so I love them regardless of those flaws… I guess I can’t really decide on my favourites when I think about the total of over hundred posts that I did in the past year… so naturally, I just picked a few out of my reviews as I originally wanted to do reviews only… and while my newer reviews surely are a lot better than my old ones… I still like these ones a lot!

Questions from me for the nominees (if they want to answer them):

  1. What’s the weirdest combination of food items that you can think of that should not work… but actually does work really good?
  2. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned over the course of time in regards to Blogging and/or Streaming?
  3. You’re forced to swap out your country’s “leader” (party/politician/etc.) with a videogame antagonist (like Borderlands’ “Handsome Jack”). What antagonist do you choose and why exactly?
  4. What are the top 5 games on your wishlist and what’s the next thing you’ll get?
  5. Do you have a playlist/some playlists for different tasks in games like grinding or PvP, etc. and if so, can you share them with us and explain why you use them for those specific tasks? 

That’s it for this post. These Award/Nomination/Tag-type posts are always something else, so they take a bit longer to edit and write up and I need to come up with some interesting questions and overall… I hope that you enjoyed this one! If you want to answer these questions in a post as well, feel free to do that and link back to me so that I can check those answers out for myself! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing the nominees’ answers and questions and everything! 🙂 

Cheers!