On the Sixth Day of Blogmas…

Welcome one and all to a very Athena Veta season of good will! Athena’s a friend of the show, as it were, and general all-around cool person; she also happens to be extremely smart, so check out her blog at the AmbiGaming Corner for deep and well-considered thoughts on what we can learn from gaming as well as a whole bunch of other always-interesting stuff.

For the holiday season this year, Athena’s coordinated an event based on that classic Marmite of tunes (you love it or you hate it): The Twelve Days of Christmas. Each day from December 26th to January 6th, we’ll look at a gamified version of one of the song’s lines until eventually we have 364 gamey gifts!

On the first day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me: What are twelve favourite gaming memories?

On the second day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me: Tell us eleven games you love!

On the third day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me: What are ten reasons you would play a game?

On the fourth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me: Give us nine games on your to-play list!

On the fifth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me: Eight characters you love!

On the sixth day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me: Share seven of your favourite posts!

Alright! Now, I’m not the best at reading other people’s work because I suck, but I wanna use this as an opportunity to let a few people know that they’re great.

With only seven slots I won’t be able to get everyone I’d like to, but just know that if you’re a content creator and I’ve spoken to you literally ever, I am a fan of what you do even if I don’t always get a chance to comment and stuff. On similar lines, everyone whose posts I’ve singled out here is very excellent all the time and I highly recommend that you read everything they’ve ever done, not just this one thing!

7. Pix1001 (Shoot the Rookie) – The Final of the Video Game Fashion Show

Pix is just really, really cool. We like Pix a lot. She and I put together a little mini-event of sorts involving gaming characters strutting their stuff down the catwalk – all the way back in May, if you can believe it! She was great to work with and she turned out some very awesome posts, so I’m really happy that she was the person I got to work with on this one. I was surprised, actually, to end up writing a gaming-based fashion event at all, but I have to say that with Pix’s help I think it ended up being exceedingly fabulous!

6. Adventure Rules – Alakazam: An Examination of In-Game Magic

Ian over at Adventure Rules has a lot going for him: awesome thoughts on tabletop and video games, community events such as the Blogger Blitz and Charming & Open, previews and thoughts on gaming events, to name just a few. This post, though, on the varying ways in which games can handle magic is one of my favourites of the last year. It’s insightful and the sort of writing that immediately provokes the reader to think about what games they’ve played recently and the sorts of magic they used; I think reading something that makes me consider my own perspective and experience is a good thing for sure. Love to Ian!

5. Normal Happenings – The Games That Define Us

I’m cheating here, because this epic collaboration includes over thirty different bits of great writing from as many amazing writers. Still, I think Matt, the man behind Normal Happenings himself, deserves credit here for putting it all together. His writing’s great and his ability to design the visuals of a site really elevates any content that’s published on Normal Happenings, and he was a great organiser to boot.

4. The Silver Sentinel Mage (The Well-Red Mage) – Rethinking Final Fantasy XIII in Light of XV

I really liked FFXIII at the time, but I’m always conscious that games are different things to different people and everyone is going to have (and be entitled to) their own opinion on things. This post by one of my Mage colleagues examines how criticising FFXIII for what it wasn’t doesn’t hold weight, particularly when compared to XV. Sentinel is always fair to both games, giving credit where it’s due and observing the similarities and differences as well as the contradictions in attitudes towards each game. It’s a great, incredibly thorough, read.

3. LightningEllen (LividLightning) – Ace, Ace, Baby

Ellen’s one of my Actual Favourite People. She’s just so cool! More than that, though, she’s a person who’s always open about the things she’s struggling with, which makes her both relatable and incredibly likeable. She doesn’t hide the fact that some things are hard, or make any attempt to either romanticise her struggles or garner attention or sympathy for them; she just shares them so that people can maybe understand how to be more empathetic towards others, and that’s really great. This post in particular is about her sexual orientation and how its invisibility in the media means that people just don’t quite get it. She never judges people for just not knowing any better, though: she doesn’t patronise, but quietly educates, and I think she makes the world a better place.

2. Athena (AmbiGaming) – Unexpected Horror

I mean, I could hardly go through a whole post in an event organised by Athena and not mention Athena! She’s ludicrously smart, exceptionally awesome, and very, very good at thinking deeply about things and explaining her thoughts in an accessible way that will blow anyone’s mind. Here she talks about a phenomenon that I both hate and love: games using the trappings of the horror genre unexpectedly to disturb or surprise the player. I’m not brave enough to play most of her examples, but she’s great at setting out the reasons that things make us think or feel the way they do, and how games can use these powers to great effect.

1. The Dragon’s Tea Party – Top 10 Feelgood Games

I’m a big proponent of the idea that games can be many things. To some they’re a great artistic or intellectual experience, and that’s awesome, but sometimes you just want to play a game to feel good, and that’s exactly what Dragon picks up on here. Dragon is a fellow rat lover, which automatically means I like her a lot, but she also runs hilarious Nuzlocke challenges and occasionally shares introspective thoughts on more personal matters in an authentic and very real sort of way. Plus, what’s not to love about a dragon having a tea party?!

Again, I gotta say that this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything that’s worth reading. There are so many people doing great stuff that I could never mention them all – a lot of great reads, and a lot of great people who I consider friends.

Of course, I’m writing this in advance, so I don’t know who else is taking part or what they’ll have written, but I bet there are a bunch of other awesome people writing incredibly cool things on this very topic today, so check out the AmbiGaming Corner and probably Twitter for some links! See you tomorrow for the next day of Blogmas…

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