MAJOR spoilers for the main story of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV since its re-release (since the first iteration was bombed to shit) in 2013. It’s kept me hooked because, for an MMO, it’s got a fantastic plot. Characters are memorable and well-rounded, the setting combines history with geography, and the stories it brings to the forefront are captivating, dealing with a whole slew of — dare I say it? — political subjects.

Final Fantasy XIV (FF14) has the typical fantastical setting, and it deals with the commonalities shared throughout most Final Fantasy games. An…


If you’ve ever listened to The National, you’ve probably wondered what in the world the songs are even about. With lyrics like “we’re half-awake in a fake empire”, “we’ll run like we’re awesome, totally genius”, and “if she knows your paper, you know she’ll have to burn you”, the band takes you along euphoric, obsessive, and often prurient escapades of people trying and failing. The band’s singer and songwriter, Matt Berninger, lays out dreamlike wordplay, ambivalent metaphors, and the narratives he composes, brought to life by his distant baritonal hoping, feel anecdotal and confessional.

But the band’s music isn’t as…


One of the highlights of my year has been the Blades in the Dark campaign I’m running. Almost every week Marcy, Nox, Lucas, and Nathan, four of the most wonderful people I am graced to know, jump into our little Discord server. Before we actually start, we just talk as if we stepped into a little living room. Our running gag is to keep track of how long it takes for us to actually start — longest it’s taken was 45 minutes, shortest was 11 minutes. But when we start, god, it’s good.

I’ve been a GM for about four…


History can be anything. It can be a dust-softed book, it can be rediscovered archives, it can be an interview with a survivor, it can be the sudden silence from your grandmother when she stops talking about a sore subject. History is the way we remember memories that aren’t our own, which helps us understand them. Remembrance is an activity. So, history is not only alive, it is retroactive. By remembering, we start seeing the arrangements of relationships and events, struggles and victories, powers and victims that led to the present. Memories live on. But original memories aren’t always accessible…


CW: Descriptions of violence, torture, homophobia & misogyny

Big Boss dismounts his motorcycle near the headquarters of his private military force, Militaires Sans Frontières, attempting to light a Cuban cigar in the Central-American downpour. On the nearby beach, his men are going through the ropes of close-quarters combat. They’re close, forceful, and intimate with eachother — as keen to perfect the motions as they are to assert dominance over a comrade. Boss approaches them, feeling comfortable enough to remove his shirt in the process. His wide, hairy, battle-scarred chest cascades with rain, drenching everything from his dishevelled beard, to his…


Up front: I have never been as consistently unimpressed with a single creator than with David Cage. He fancies himself an auteur, presenting very detailed worlds but never diving into their depths. There’s a lot to do, but not a lot to find. Every game has a section where you can mess around for about half an hour doing menial and inconsequential stuff, but after that, you are forced into railroaded sections leading to stale, clunky conclusions strung together from careless loose ends. …


Behind a waterfall is a mysterious, crystalline cave that thrums with the music of the universe. Deep within its reaches, on an altar made of beauty and purple stone, stands my phylactery. It’s a mug that says “COOL DUDE” and it is the source of all my power. When June swings around, the mug’s carvings change to “COOL BI DUDE” and I become extra powerful for the full 30 days. It allows me to will unspeakable things into existence…! See: this article.

My bisexual powers of dude-loving are amplified a thousandfold. Which means that I get to share with you…


ATTENTION: Content warning for descriptions of blood, gore, and human experimentation. Also, this article will feature massive spoilers until up about chapter 90 of the manga. You’ve been warned! Also, yes, you can use this article to tell people Attack on Titan is a fascist show.

This article is a collaboration between Ruben Ferdinand and Elliⓞt!

The very first one-and-a-half minutes I watched Attack on Titan, I was filled with a sense of glory. Like I could do anything. The music, the animation, the contrast between brutal imagery and intense combat, I was on the edge of my seat for…


The way popular media presents teenhood isn’t a realistic image of what being a teen is about. It resembles the perfect version of how we wish it was: thrilling, secure, an actual promise of success, while also being the happiest days of our lives. From American high school musicals to anime-frequent slice-of-life, there is an ideality projected onto the cultural memory of high school. The images produced, as a result, are Real High Schools injected with Hyperreal Ideas. Children are the future in that they are shown to be capable of virtually anything.

The basic formula of this narrative is…


It is abruptly cold in your house, or perhaps you’ve only just begun to notice. With your teeth, you pry your frozen fingers off of your controller, or perhaps your keyboard. You use your overclocked PC as a miniature stove, radiating a solid 93 degrees Celcius. As cogency and mobility slip back into your brain and body, you can finally take a step back and appreciate the game you’ve been playing. You were swept into the puzzling lore, its ghostly setting, its unnarrated abundance of in-universe history. Now, you start to really think what Dark Souls® is about.

Artificial difficulty?

You decline…

Ruben Ferdinand

Has shown interest in text and frogs, known website-owner http://thefriendden.net/

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