February Wrapup, 2023!

Smooch month draws to a close, and with it, I understand, the ending of Winter in America. That’s got to be rough, having a smoochy romantic-vibes event when you can’t go outside because the icicles are forming on the walruses, or whatever happens in places that are cold. My whole life, I’ve only ever seen Valentines day as a thing that happens when the sun is raging high and the beautiful botanical gardens are second only to Places with Air Conditioning to go do something special with someone you care about.

Where was I? oh yes, a roundup of articles I wrote this month and reasons you, you, you might want to check them out!

Let’s check out first of all, what I wrote this month about games in the Game Pile:

  • Love Letter, a small card game with a powerful, flexible engine, Love Letter is a game with a lot to recommend it and a lot of variations. I like it a lot and I like how it has permutations and the way it can present flavour.
  • The Romance Options of Baldur’s Gate 2 Enhanced Edition, I promised myself a long time ago, I’d follow up on an older article with all the newer characters from the enhanced edition. This is a twenty-ish minute video where I talk smack about characters in a twenty year old D&D game, but I also still feel really invested in it.
  • We Need To Talk, which I think was an interesting game more than I thought it was engaging. Check it out to learn about a game with an interesting language model.
  • Eyes On The Prize, a two-to-four player TTRPG about fake marriages in courting mayhem. It’s so good, and

And this month’s posting in the Story Pile:

  • There She Is!!, an early 00s web-animation that people seemed surprised to learn had multiple parts, or more parts than they knew, and then seemed even more surprised to learn was about uhhhh racism. And funnily enough, because it’s about racism, it gets into some Real Shit even as it’s a set of beautiful animations of poppy, fun, sweet Korean music.
  • Shikimori’s not Just A Cutie, an anime about nothing featuring nobody, that I nonetheless watched twelve episodes of and want to recommend to anyone who wants create even mildly better fanworks.
  • My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom!, an anime I really liked about a beautifully stupid stupid beauty and her collection of hotties. This one takes a dip in quality later on, but I still think that the article is good at conveying the things about it I liked.
  • Eat, Play Love, because I think it’s a good tradition that Fox and I should watch a Hallmark movie together every year because if we find ourselves starting to go ‘oh this is actually quite good’ we know we need to see a doctor about mood altering medication.

I also wrote about some Dungeons & Dragons stuff this month. I talked about the way you can use Skill Challenges and flashback mechanisms to make what’s normally a very brief, boring check into a big character moment for the whole group when discussing Group Flirts. I examined the Leadership feat, which turned into ‘I just want a boyfriend‘ a lot of the time. While trying to build out Cobrin’Seil so it’s not just four basic spaces and vibes, I wrote up the Nation of Visente — an art deco magepunk modernist society that keeps trying to buy its way out of the consequences of endless expansion (and is that going to work?).

As for my own relationship to smoochy topics, I did some writing about what it’s like to learn to date in a fundamentalist church, and the ways that messes everything up for everyone. I talk about how shipping can be a great way to explain to people the kind of person you are, what you value, and why you value it. There was room to drag other media for how it handled romance, though, with an article on Homestuck’s unnecessarily complicated explanatory terminology and a full article dunking on Keitaro Urashima, the embarrassing successor to Tenchi.

I looked at a couple of different game design ideas, too! First, I examined a concept of taking an idea for a visual novel, then seeing how I’d need to change the game design to accommodate a variety of mechanical needs. Then, later on, I considered how two different games happen to have names that can inform a smoochy game, when I looked at The Mind & The Heart, and how those two concepts might work for a particular kind of game fiction.

This month’s shirt design is fun because of the other things I can do with the basic template. Other shapes, other silhouettes, other fonts, a lot of different ways to use this basic genre, ideally with things I understand better, going forward. If you want this shirt design, you can get it in multicolour, white text, and red text versions.

I wasn’t nearly as pressurised as I was during January but I’d be lying if I said February wasn’t a rough one. While I wasn’t dealing with a lot, people around me were often grappling with serious problems, and that meant that I spent a lot of time doing scaffolding work. I’m not in a position to do everything everyone needs, unfortunately. It’s a rough one, holding on with both hands as best I can to everyone. It’s been a month of some challenging days, and a few problems that just keep on coming back into my life.

I haven’t bought anything? I know that may sound odd, but when it comes to things like new games or toys or anything like that I haven’t bought anything new. I’ve been trying to make sure I eat healthier if I can, which means that I’ve been eating a lot more beans from a tin and veggies given a bit of swift heating.

I at the start of the year wrote down ‘get more early nights.’ That’s a bold proclamation to have in the summer, the time of year when I sleep the worst.

Back to top