Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

DISCUSSION: Are Video Games Getting Easier, or Am I Getting Better?

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With video game companies often cashing in on the nostalgia by remaking, remastering, or rebooting beloved franchises, such as Crash Bandicoot or the Spyro series, the question I find myself and my video game fans asking, are video games getting easier?.

I wasn’t a video game nerd growing up, the only games I played were Pokemon, the Mario & Luigi series, and other mismatched games. One of the spinoffs I love is the Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon series. I was so excited when they remade the first game, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team, as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX. I bought it as soon as it came out for the Nintendo Switch.

Now, I remember Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team being quite tricky growing up. As I’m playing this remake, I haven’t been having many troubles other than getting buttons confused, but that comes with the territory. I quickly noticed how easy this game is now. Unless I haven’t hit the difficulty spike, I’ve had little to no problems working my way through the game.

So this begs the question, did they make this game more accessible to the younger audience, or did I just get better at strategy games overall? Well, I think I just got better by playing more strategy games such as Octopath TravelerChocobo’s Mystery Dungeon, and all of the later entries in the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. I think with time and experience with other video games of the same genre, I might just have a better grasp on how to play the game than when I was a kid.

However, I’d like to hear your opinion! Do you think video game companies are making video games easier, or do you think you’ve just gotten better at playing the games?

~

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Posted in Discussions, Movie/TV Reviews, Personal Blogs

DISCUSSION: My Thoughts on Doctor Who: Past, Revival, and Current Re-Generation

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Ever since I started this blog, I feel compelled to share my love of Doctor Who, however, I feel I’m constantly repeating myself when I’m reviewing a Doctor Who novel or audiobook. So I have finally gathered up my thoughts on Doctor Who in its entirety to share with you.

How I discovered Doctor Who

Back long, long ago, my ex-boyfriend told me his brother was watching Doctor Who on Netflix. It took me a couple of tries to watch the pilot episode of season 1 of the “reboot/current” series. But once I got past how the monsters were mannequins (hello another irrational fear) I binged the rest of the series.

Now that Doctor Who isn’t on any of the streaming services anymore, I missed 3 seasons of the show. It was Peter Capaldi’s run of the lovable Doctor. I feel like I didn’t miss too much since I follow the memes and humor on the Internet. As well as the fury about the writers changing things (thank goodness most of those were only temporary), and the downfall of the writing quality overall.

Classic Doctor Who

There is so much more of Doctor Who than anyone can keep up with. The show started in the ’60s and they had no idea how huge this small, low budget show would become. Thanks to the Internet, the reboot took off. With the addition of David Tennant and Matt Smith, the show would remain in the mainstream for years to come.

I love Classic Doctor Who and all of its cheesiness. I only just started watching Tom Baker’s Doctor before the streaming services stopped showing Doctor Who. There is so much left to watch, read, listen, and enjoy from this long-lasting franchise.

I like to watch my shows in chronological order, so I started with the man who started it all, William Hartnell’s Doctor. He was a grumpy, yet lovable grampa by the time Mr. Hartnell had to end his reign as the Doctor due to health issues.

Next is Patrick Troughton’s Doctor. I feel this incarnation of the Doctor has a lot of “missing” episodes/stories. I do own one of the DVDs of one of the lost stories, so some parts are filmed, and some parts are animated. Mr. Troughton’s Doctor is the one I know the least about personality-wise. He often refers to his “500-year journal” since his regeneration caused him some amnesia. One of his more popular companions is Jamie, a young man from 18th century Scotland. Even though a lot of what the Doctor does and talks about is beyond Jamie’s understanding, Jamie still enjoys the adventures and travels through time and space.

Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor in the classic series is one of my absolute favorites. One of my favorite quotes from him is

“Courage isn’t a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”

I’ve seen similar quotes to this, but this one struck a chord with me because when I first heard it I was going through a tough time and it helped me realize not every choice is an easy one, and no matter what you still have to make a choice.

Doctor Who Reboot

I have two main favorite doctors in the reboot/current series so far. Right now those favorites are the 9th and 10th Doctors played by Christopher Eccelston and David Tennant respectively. What I really enjoyed about these Doctors was their personalities, Mr. Eccelston and his sarcasm that he brought to the character was charming. Even though his stint on the show wasn’t long, he is still my Doctor. Mr. Tennant has a great sense of humor and adorable quirkiness. You can see his love for the franchise throughout his run. These two doctors were probably the most unique and interesting Doctors I’ve seen so far.

The Future of Doctor Who:

Right now as far as the current Doctor, Jodie Wittaker is a good actress, especially for the mediocre writing she’s been given, now that’s not to say that the current writing is very poor, but it leaves a lot to be desired. My favorite episode from the 11th season is The Demons of Punjab. The plot is:

The Doctor and her friends arrive in the Punjab, India, in 1947, as the country is being torn apart; while Yaz attempts to discover her grandmother’s hidden history, the Doctor discovers demons haunting the land.

This is my favorite episode because the story was interesting, the writing was better, and the cinemaphotography was gorgeous and made 1947 India a place to visit.

Going forward I’d like to see better writing and better use of the companions in each episode, for example, a companion getting tired and The Doctor brings them back to Earth for a break. Also, three companions seems a bit much for an hour-long TV Show.

Side note: My fiance thinks the audio mixing needs a bit of work, you can’t really understand much of what’s being said without a high-end audio system. Gotta make it work on All systems, ya know? -Alex Dickson (Fiance who loves his woman so very much he will surprise her on her birthday with something special, now with what, he doesn’t know yet, but he’ll figure something out.)

Read My Reviews of Doctor Who Novels and Audio Dramas HERE not all of these I realize are not Doctor Who directly, but other novels that remind me of the show.

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

DISCUSSION: Political Correctness and the Holidays

It seems like every year around the holidays’ people find something to be outraged about. It has gotten to the point where I’m desensitized to it.

I’ve noticed that there’s been outrage around the classic Christmas cartoons Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. They’re old cartoons. Of course, this shows how much society and our culture has changed. Does this mean we should suppress it? I don’t think so.

I think we should use these classic cartoons as a teaching moment for the kids. Explain that these are classics and they’re old. Teach them whatever you don’t agree about the program, but also show them how simple and happy the cartoons are.

I believe political correctness will become a problem when we start using it to delete the past. We should be able to learn from our mistakes, not try to hide them. History is important to any culture, and to see it disappear saddens me.

I am not a Social Justice Warrior by any means, but I do have a small handful of causes I stand up for. None of which involve trying to ban classic holiday cartoons and classic Christmas songs. Let the holidays be fun, save the Social Justice Warrior stuff for the upcoming year.

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

DISCUSSION: Podcasts

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I’ve been listening to podcasts off and on through the past several years. I originally started watching some of my favorite YouTuber personalities that also made podcasts. I eventually lost interest in those and moved on to the next thing that would help me sleep at night.

Now back in the world of podcasts, my new favorite genre I’ve been thoroughly been enjoying is the true crime genre. I’ve always been intrigued by crime and criminal behavior. If I could join the FBI, I would. However, with my mental health problems, I don’t think I’d make it too far. I’ll just leave the tough work to the pros.

So this is my new “sleeping aide” for now. I change these from time to time depending on situations that are out of my control.

So please share what podcast you enjoy listening to! I’d enjoy some recommendations for some new ones to enjoy and listen to!

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

DISSCUSSION: “Local Girl Missing” by Claire Douglas Book Club Questions

When I finished Local Girl Missing I found there were several discussion questions for book clubs. I thought about these questions, and here are my responses.

**Spoiler Warning**

  1. Why was Frankie drawn to Sophie as a friend? Why was Sophie drawn to Frankie in return?

I think since Frankie has proven throughout the novel that she is a sociopath and/or psychopath. Usually, with these types of people, they find someone who is “submissive” which Sophie is when she first meets Frankie. Sophie is thereby, drawn to Frankie as a friend because of Frankie’s confidence, and willing to teach her about being a teenager in a small town. It was the perfect storm personality-wise.

2. Why do you think Sophie feels so unable to tell anyone about her stalker? In what ways could she have acted differently?

Back before the days of texting, mobile phones, and e-mails. It makes it 10x more difficult to have proof that you have a stalker. Second of all, she is correct in the fact that the local police wouldn’t have done anything. The police can’t take action unless a threat to the victim’s life has been made. However, if she put in the anonymous tip after the rape happened, those women might have come forward before she felt the need to run away. Her stalker/rapist being a prominent figure in the community, it would make it more difficult to prove that he was in fact guilty.

3. The author uses the phrase “Like father, like daughter” in relation to Frankie and her father. How similar are these characters and in what ways? Frankie calls Sophie a liar when she reveals that Alistair has harmed her. How far will we go to protect our perceptions of the ones we love? Are we in denial about our loved ones?

 Frankie and Alistair are similar in the fact when they want something or someone they will stop at nothing to acquire it or them. Alistair (as far as we know) never murdered any of his victims. Frankie murdered Jason because she was turned down and she thought the reason was that Jason fancied Sophie more. None of them knew at the time, that he was gay.

The last part of this question is difficult for me to answer. From what I’ve learned in college was that as we grow up we’re supposed to see our parents as the people that raised us as well as their flaws.

Since Frankie didn’t have a good relationship with her mother, all of her love and attention went to her dad, thus building an unrealistic expectation of who her dad is. I would say for those that grew up in a healthy home, this is true. We go into denial if that parent is threatened to tarnish the idealization.

4. Do you think, on some level, Frankie believes her own story? Can you convince yourself to believe your own lies? How do you think this novel approaches the theme of memory?

I think she either spent the rest of her life convincing herself that Sophie was missing. Just like how she convinced Sophie that Jason dying was just an accident. I think it’s interesting to hear Frankie’s side of the story as well as Sophie’s side of the story. Sophie’s journal entries slowly unraveled the lies that Frankie has built up over time.

5. Sophie’s friend Helen insists that “Friendship should be about given and take. It should be about equality” whereas Sophie thinks this is naive. Discuss the power dynamics between friends throughout the novel and how they change.

While they are growing up together, Frankie gives Sophie the protection from bullies and an escape from home. After Frankie went to boarding school, this gives Sophie the chance to gain independence from Frankie. So when they meet up again, Sophie is more independent and is looking for a job outside of Oldscliffe. Frankie expects to go back to the way things were before boarding school, and they don’t because Sophie “grew up”. She didn’t need Frankie anymore to tell her what to do, or how to dress or who to date. Which causes the friction between them when it comes to their taste in men.

6. What are Sophie’s flaws? Is she purely a victim in this story?

The only flaws about Sophie that are noticeable to me are that her self-esteem is low. She never believed any of the boys were attracted to her. She talks about her younger self negatively. By the end of this novel, I felt more sympathetic towards Sophie than I did Frankie. Maybe it was because I could relate to Sophie better than Frankie.

7. Frankie addresses Sophie throughout the novel almost as if she is speaking to her. What do you think that the author was trying to portray by writing this way?

I think the author writes the novel in this fashion because it makes it seem like Frankie is talking to Sophie as if she was actually dead. She apologizes to Sophie for the way things happened as if she is praying for forgiveness for her brash actions.

8. How does young Frankie from Oldcliffe compare to the Frankie we meet in the present day? What has caused her to develop in this way? If Frankie really believes such assertions as “nobody turns me down” what causes her to feel so entitled?

I would say the “old” Frankie was ambitious, wanted to be popular, and wanted to leave Oldcliffe to do something not involved in the hotel business. The “new” Frankie has repressed the memories of the past, she does run her father’s hotel business in London. She loves the amenity of living in a big bustling town. I think she feels so entitled is because her father always gave her everything she asked for.

9. Do you believe that Frankie has real feelings towards Daniel? Discuss Daniel’s relationship with the women in this novel. 

I think after two failed marriages, Frankie going back to see Daniel may have made her realize how he was “the one” for her. He loved and cared for his family. Even if he was laid back, that didn’t make him undesirable.

10. What role does the atmosphere of Oldcliffe play in this story? 

The way the author described Oldcliffe, it reminded me of places like Coney Island in the “off” season. A tourist town that’s bustling in the summer, all of a sudden being empty for the rest of the year can feel creepy at times.

11. “I don’t think I’m bad. I’ve just done some bad things”. Is Frankie “bad”? What makes someone a “bad” person?

I don’t think Frankie is “bad”. She never seems to bully Sophie or other people. I think she might have some mental health problems, and if she sought help for them, she might get better. Anger and rage can flare up and causes you to lose your sense of your actions.

12. What causes friendships to turn to toxic envy? Are there barriers we should uphold with our friends? Can people be too close?

When we are children, we make friends easily. Maybe they were friendly to you once, or because you got paired up on a field trip. Any of those reasons. However, once puberty and growing up happens, you start realizing that your friend may have things better off than you. Whether they are real or imaginary reasons hatred and jealousy start brewing. We need to uphold our boundaries with every relationship we have. People can get too close and start suffocating you or making your life toxic.

13. What do you think happens after the novel ends? Does Frankie survive the fall and start a new life for herself, just like Sophie?

It is possible that she survived, but it’s just as possible that she’s dead. The reader will never know. If she did, she will either start a new life similar to Sophie or seek revenge on Sophie and her family. I think she’s mentally unstable enough to continue on telling herself that Sophie was missing or that she was dead. She is also capable of wishing to harm Sophie and her family.

Read my review of Local Girl Missing