Danger is Part of the Journey Feb24

Danger is Part of the Journey...

In the restaurant of life, the main dish of parenthood comes with a huge side order of worry. You are also served anxiety sauce and nervous seasoning. Every time your child makes a decision, you wonder about the consequences. And when your child doesn’t listen to your wise counsel, you realize that you’ve raised someone who is headstrong and foolish. Certainly Chief Tui felt that way about Moana. She was his daughter, the light of his life, and the next chief of Motunui. She was his hope for the future of his people. All she had to do was follow the path he’d laid out for her—follow the rules, learn from him, and take over when her time came. What he didn’t realize was that his plan depended on an unchanging world. As long as everything stayed more-or-less as it always had, Moana and the people of Motunui would be fine. Things don’t stay the same, though. Centuries before Moana’s time, the demi-god Maui had stolen the heart of the goddess Te Fiti. He intended to give it to humanity as a gift to earn their love. He lost it in the sea and the world began a slow collapse. Islands died, their vegetation turning black and lifeless, and the fish became scarce. I probably advise my children out of fear. Motunui was a long way from the destruction, so the people of Chief Tui’s tribe didn’t notice that the world was changing. The destruction was spreading, though. They couldn’t escape it forever. The ocean chose Moana as its champion to return the heart. Soon after, the darkness began to touch Motunui. Vegetation died and the fish vanished. Moana suggested sailing beyond the reef, but her father forbade it. The island supplied all their...

All Who Wander: The Fellowship of the Ring Part 2 Feb23

All Who Wander: The Fellowship of the Ring Part 2...

Mae govannen, fellow wanderers, and welcome to episode two of All Who Wander, the in-depth audio exploration of one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s most famous works, The Lord of the Rings. In this episode, hosts Allison Barron, Kyla Neufeld, and Michael Boyce take a look through part two of The Fellowship of the Ring, examining the subtext behind the characters, the world, and the cultures inside. What differences appear between the elves of Lothlorien and Rivendell? Is Gandalf’s fall in Moria simply a textual retelling of Glorfindel’s death to a Balrog? What exactly was Boromir thinking when he was throwing those stones in the lake? Buy tickets to the All Who Wander live event. Galadriel and the Long Defeat by Kyla Neufeld Download and subscribe to the Infinity +1 feed on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Kyla’s Twitter: @mwboyce Michael’s Twitter: @rlandnews Geekdom House on Twitter:...

Corruption Everywhere but Within Feb22

Corruption Everywhere but Within...

“He saw corruption everywhere, but within,” sings Clopin as he introduces Claude Frollo in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This line particularly stands out to me because Frollo is a villain who believes he’s right in every way. He believes his treatment of Quasimodo is just, he believes the gypsies should be dealt with revilement, and he believes he must shepherd others in his professed righteousness. He sings: You know I am a righteous man Of my virtue I am justly proud You know I’m so much purer than The common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd. Since Frollo gives to the poor, takes in a scorned and ugly “monster,” pursues injustice, prays, and attends mass, he believes he’s doing good. He thinks God and the saints should be pleased with him, because he’s checked all the boxes. But he fails to notice all the virtues he’s neglecting—mercy, compassion, and love, for starters. Claude Frollo is abusive, cruel, and above all arrogant. In trying to become a better person, there’s always the danger of pride. Pursuing virtue is a noble endeavor; I believe kindness, selflessness, charity, patience, love, and honesty should be encouraged. But I know I must keep in mind the danger of being so caught up in the right that I stop recognizing when I’m wrong. Many people in the film such as Esmeralda, Phoebus, and the Archdeacon recognize Frollo’s wrong actions and they even call him out on it. However, whenever Frollo is confronted, he gives excuses and tries to justify himself. Archdeacon: See there the innocent blood you have spilt on the steps of Notre Dame. Frollo: I am guiltless. She ran. I pursued. Archdeacon: Now you would add this child’s blood to your guilt on the steps of Notre Dame....

Episode 68 – Boss Battles / LEGO Batman Feb21

Episode 68 – Boss Battles / LEGO Batman...

The only podcast that uses pi when making pie, it’s Infinity +1! Jason and Kyle hold the fort this week against the tides of boredom with a boss-sized Question of the Week. After both breaking the rules and giving more than one answer, it’s over to Saved Files to hear about the LEGO Batman movie, the final(?) chapter in the Resident Evil movie franchise, and the one piece of advice that Dungeons & Dragons players never seem to take. Question of the Week: What is your favourite boss battle? Follow FanQuest on Facebook or Twitter The song in the break is Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 64 by Kenta Nagata. Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Who Pays for My Choices? The Cost of Sacrifice in Final Fantasy XV...

Be ye warned: this article contains spoilers for Final Fantasy XV. Most video games expect us to sacrifice something to save the world, rescue a princess, or stop an evil dictator. Sometimes we must sacrifice some of our resources, sometimes we have to make the choice to back one country over another, and sometimes we are asked to give up our very lives to save the ones we love. I’ve played a lot of games and come to expect at some point that there will be some sort of sacrifice, although there is one franchise that has consistently made sacrifice uncomfortable and cut through the familiarity: Final Fantasy. I have a vivid memory of the moment Sephiroth appeared behind Aerith and impaled her on his Naginata. I can even smell the carpet I was sitting on the first time I witnessed that death. And I remember wondering how she was going to come back or who they were going to give me to replace my main healer. Once I realized there was no replacement and I’d have to make someone function less effectively to make up for the loss, I was infuriated. It was frustrating and angering and maybe the first time I really felt the loss of a sacrifice (in game or otherwise). I’ve played a lot of games since then, experiencing the pattern of sacrifice in their stories. I’ve shed a tear for a lost brother escaping the locust and I’ve been furious watching a valiant warrior give his life for people who don’t even realize their freedom has a cost. To a certain degree, I’ve grown tired of sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake and find myself annoyed that a hero can’t just win without giving something up. Does everyone always have to...

7 Indie Games to Play in 2017...

These days, bigger budgets don’t necessarily mean better games, and we love seeing the creative projects that independent developers are coming up with. Here are seven of our most anticipated indie games of 2017: 1. Tacoma “Tacoma is the new game from the creators of Gone Home, set on Lunar Transfer Station Tacoma where, 200,000 miles from Earth, you must uncover the mysteries of the station.” 2. Rain World “You are a nomadic slugcat, both predator and prey in a broken ecosystem. Intense, bone-crushing rains pound the surface and make life almost impossible for most of the year, but the dry season has just arrived. Grab your spear and brave the industrial wastes, hunting enough food to survive another hibernation cycle, but be wary—other, bigger creatures have the same plan… and slugcats look delicious.” 3. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice takes you on a journey into savage viking heartland with Senua, a Celtic warrior struggling with trauma & psychosis.” 4. Perception “Perception is a first-person narrative horror adventure that tells the story of Cassie, a blind heroine who uses her extraordinary hearing and razor-sharp wits to unravel the mysteries of an abandoned estate that haunts her dreams.” 5. Aer “An adventure among the clouds. Turn into a bird and fly to explore a shattered world of floating islands, nomads and secrets of old.” 6. Frostpunk “Frostpunk takes on what people are capable of when pushed to the limits. What interests us is what society do to survive and how it changes in the process. How survival in the end leaves us different beings.” 7. Below “Explore. Survive. Discover.”...

Stardew Valley and Avoiding Community...

On its surface, Stardew Valley is a game about farming, crafting, and collecting. These tasks can easily take up most of the players’ time but they aren’t the point of the game, because Stardew Valley is really a community simulator. The game begins as many pastoral fantasies do, with the romantic promise of escape offered by a return to the dirt—our collective roots. In Stardew Valley, the promise is a deed to a small farm in the game’s namesake town, where I was greeted by a field overgrown by weeds, rocks, and a forest that has taken advantage of years of neglect to encroach upon my one-room shack. I got straight to subduing the land and started dreaming of upgrading my hovel and how I would build a nice fence for the cow pasture I didn’t have yet. Then my old-fashioned mailbox started blowing up with messages. First with words of welcome, but soon people were dropping by in person—with requests. I decided it might be tactful to go into town and actually figure out what kind of person would pay 150 gold pieces for three dandelions. By the time I made it back home, I’d been taught how to fish, met a fellow urban refugee making art just outside of town, and realized that most of these digital people had their own challenges. I wasn’t the only person living in the valley. I can barely give a turnip to a pixel-person without working out how it benefits me. This kind of self-centredness isn’t just a feature of my gaming, it’s a feature of me. I find it startlingly easy to put on blinders; to go my way and tend to my patch of land with little thought to those around me. I can...

Episode 67 – Weird Controllers / Suffering Feb14

Episode 67 – Weird Controllers / Suffering...

The only podcast still trying to find all the Skulltulas in Hyrule, it’s Infinity +1! This week Jason, Allison, and Kyle start with a Question of the Week all about the weirdest ways video games want you to control them and Kyle shows us his Kickstarter Corner for two very different and very cool nerd properties. Question of the Week: What is your favourite peripheral video game controller? Then in the second segment, what do you do when a monster calls? Victoria Grace Howell’s article I Want It To Be Over explores the theme of suffering through the story of A Monster Calls. Is suffering part of our human nature or is it something we uniquely bring upon ourselves? Hear the hosts discuss suffering and share some of their own experiences on this week’s episode. Kyle’s Kickstarter Corner Mutant League Football (MFL) The Wyrmwood Magnetic Game Master Screen Follow FanQuest on Facebook or Twitter The song in the break is North Hill Transit Speed Run by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Taking Over Artemis

The multiplayer LAN strategy game Artemis might as well be titled Enterprise. The only thing preventing this is trademark law, since the creator of game and titular ship is in no way affiliated with Star Trek. But as my friends and I opened hailing frequencies, sounded alerts for enemy ships, and fired torpedoes, the name of the ship we ran stopped mattering. Artemis lets players become crew members on a ship tasked with protecting the galaxy from invaders. It’s a video game and a LARP at the same time, if you do it right. And by right, I mean yelling, “I’m giving it all she’s got, Captain!” in a Scottish accent and punctuating all commands with “Make it so.” My first time playing was in a dimly lit basement, sitting at a row of computers with the captain nearby, giving orders while looking at a giant projection of the ship’s movements on the wall. “Give me visuals,” “Do a long-range scan,” and “Fire when ready” were actual commands given, Captain-Kirk style. I was in Trekkie heaven. “I have been and shall always be” a Vulcan at heart, so the science officer position was a natural fit. I plotted jump calculations and scanned enemy ships for weaknesses. But during occasional downtime, I learned how communications, navigation, engineering and the other stations worked. And due to my type-A personality, I found myself trying to do them too, even when I was already occupied: How well would the Enterprise function if Chekov began telling Scotty how to run his engines? “Communications, offer terms of surrender to those two enemy ships on our tail,” I would order, even though Communications can see the enemy ships just as well as I can. “Helm, we need to be set on bearing...

42 Ways to Say “I Love You” in Geek Feb10

42 Ways to Say “I Love You” in Geek...

It’s the time of year for Love Potions, Heart Pieces, and those three magical words. (No, I’m not talking about “Use the Force” or “Beam me up.”) Whether you’re looking for a geeky way to ask your date out to a video game symphony, or planning to print your affections on a Luvdisc-shaped Valentine’s card, here are 42 ways to say “I love you” in Geek. (Why 42? Because it’s the answer to all mysteries in the universe, of course. And love may be the greatest mystery of them all.) 1. If you were a starter Pokémon, I’d choose you. 2. Are you a fairy? Because you fill all my heart containers. 3. All my base are belong to you. 4. I’d travel there and back again for you. 5. You’re my final fantasy. 6. I’d take an arrow to the knee for you. 7. I-it’s not like a l-like you or a-anything… b-baka—! 8. Be my Beka/Faye/Vincent Valentine. 9. Ruby is red, Neptune is blue, hope I get put on the same team as you. 10. You’re the hero Gotham deserves, and the one I need right now. 11. When I looked in the Mirror of Erised, I saw you. 12. You’re my precious. 13. SoH Dughajbe’bogh jaj rur Hov ghajbe’bogh ram. 14. Hello, Sweetie. 15. You are the center of my mind palace. 16. I know. 17. I’d volunteer as your tribute. 18. You were expecting Dio, but it was me—your Valentine! 19. Without you, who else will I have ice cream with? 20. With you, my life is 20% cooler. 21. *Wookie sounds* 22. You’re my player 2. 23. You fill me with determination. 24. Like a Headcrab, you’re always on my mind. 25. You’re the arc reactor to my heart....

All Who Wander: The Fellowship of the Ring Part 1 Feb09

All Who Wander: The Fellowship of the Ring Part 1...

Mae govannen, fellow wanderers, and welcome to the first episode of All Who Wander, an in-depth exploration of one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s most famous works, The Lord of the Rings. On this episode, hosts Allison Barron and Kyla Neufeld tackle part one of The Fellowship of the Ring, examining the plot, characters, and adventure of the legendary series through the lenses of fandom, diversity, and legend. Buy tickets to the All Who Wander live event. Download and subscribe to the Infinity +1 feed on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter:...

Losing Star Wars to Legend Feb08

Losing Star Wars to Legend...

Picture this scene: a short, scrawny Korean boy with glasses sitting on a bench in a middle school locker room, talking nerd stuff with a tall, gangly, bushy-haired classmate. Day after day, we’d broach topics like Japanese film adaptations of fighting games, whether dinosaurs really could be made from mosquitos trapped in amber, and how there was this great game called Doom, but it required a boot disc. Of all these conversations, though, the most significant one to me was when my friend told me there was an “expanded universe” to Star Wars, novels that pushed the stories of our heroes further. I swore to myself that he was lying. He had to be, right? There couldn’t be more Star Wars, could there? Of course, there was more. So much more. I asked my parents to take me to a local bookstore and bought the very first novel I ever read for personal reasons, Heir to the Empire. That book, and the rest of Timothy Zahn’s trilogy, blew my mind. And that was that—my love for reading and my obsession over Star Wars was sealed. What I grew up loving was no longer canon, no longer true. So you might understand why I felt like I was being tortured by force lightning when Lucasfilm announced that the EU would now be called “Legends.” Legendary stories are those relegated to myth and folk tales, to narratives that might have been true but probably weren’t, or else were so mutated over the years that they only match the historical fact in bare bones. No longer was there a Mara Jade Skywalker, nor the Solo twins. Grand Admiral Thrawn has returned through Rebels, but doesn’t bring with him ysalamir or the clone C’Baoth.  And Chewbacca didn’t die;...

Episode 66 – YouTube Rabbit Hole / Ends v Means Feb07

Episode 66 – YouTube Rabbit Hole / Ends v Means...

We are Groot, it’s time for Infinity +1! Jason, Allison, and Kyle are back this week to take a different look at some of our favourite heroes in the Question of the Week. Then Jason takes us down his YouTube Rabbit Hole to a few channels he think other nerds need to see! Question of the Week: Who is your favourite hero that has some sort of disability? Then in the second segment, the hosts examine the question asked by Steven Sukkau in his article—Can We Forgive Rogue One’s Heroes? Many events in the Star Wars universe present a narrative from the rebellion’s point of view, but what makes them different than terrorists? What is the difference between pacifism and non-violence and how do you practically live it out? These questions and more are left largely answered (as usual) but its really about the journey, not the destination, right? Jason’s YouTube Rabbit Hole: Simone Giertz – A tour of my HOUSE BOAT! Punished Props – Prop: Shop – Destiny Hand Cannon Foam Prop Jenny Nicholson – If Rey is a Skywalker Follow FanQuest on Facebook or Twitter The song in the break is It’s Not Old Skool It’s Classic by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

The Mysteries of the Secret Sister Feb06

The Mysteries of the Secret Sister

“For there is no friend like a sister…” —Christina Rossetti In the latest—and perhaps last—series of BBC’s Sherlock, co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat deftly wade into the murky waters of Holmes non-canon by introducing Sherlock’s third sibling as the series’ Big Bad. The show has included an extended subtextual examination of family dynamics—Sherlock’s sibling rivalry with his older brother, Mycroft; John and Mary’s marriage and family; Sherlock and John’s chosen family; and Sherlock’s role as John and Mary’s “child.” With the revelation of Eurus, another, smarter Holmes[i], Sherlock further develops its ongoing interest in familial bonds, both blood family and chosen family, while providing Holmes with a much needed foil of equal, perhaps superior, abilities who threatens his emotionally detached perspective. His sister is not only Sherlock’s greatest adversary, but, by forcing him to confront his feelings by engaging his sympathy and empathy, also serves as the catalyst to his maturation. One of the major limitations of adapting the Holmes stories is the lack of strong antagonists, ones who can match Holmes’s superior mental (and, when it’s convenient, physical) prowess. When Arthur Conan Doyle introduced his “Napoleon of crime,” Professor James Moriarty, the sole purpose was to find a way to end the series Conan Doyle had grown tired of writing. Moriarty, though universally hailed as Holmes’s arch-nemesis, appears in only one short story, “The Final Problem” and in a late and very inferior novel, The Valley of Fear. But even within these original short stories, Moriarty’s place as Holmes’s equal is subtly drawn by characterizing him as a symbolic brother, a technique Conan Doyle used a number of times throughout the stories and identified by Michael Atkinson in the excellent The Secret Marriage of Sherlock Holmes and Other Eccentric Readings. In Moriarty and Holmes, we see traces of ancient brother battles, Cain and Abel, Gilgamesh. Sherlock made excellent use of Moriarty (played with menacing camp by Andrew Scott), emphasizing his importance as Sherlock’s equal by alluding to his presence and showing his influence throughout Series One and Two, and then (sort of) bringing him back at the end of Series Three as a surprise postlude. But, like the canonical Holmes stories, once Moriarty exits the narratives, all other criminals seem somehow second rate by comparison. She has a unique way of challenging Sherlock’s very identity and ways of perceiving the world. In introducing Eurus, a Holmes sister, Gatiss and Moffat create an antagonist who pushes Holmes not only mentally but emotionally and further some of the interesting feminist groundwork laid in Victorian-era special, “The Abominable Bride.” She actualizes the archetypal relationship Conan Doyle often uses—she’s his actual sister and therefore his equal—but she has a unique way of challenging Sherlock’s very identity and ways of perceiving the world. Her attempts to battle Holmes require him to push himself further, engaging honestly with the strong emotional connections he has made despite his cold, logical perspective. As emotions are traditionally considered “female,” the revelation of a secret sister allows Gatiss and Moffat to reimagine the overly masculine source material in which Holmes is frequently dismissive of women and emotions to explore the power of feelings. Eurus pushes Holmes with logical problems behind a backdrop of emotional manipulation. With each puzzle, Holmes must also directly confront his own powerful feelings and attachments; he must face an endangered child, choose whether to kill Mycroft (his blood brother) or John (his chosen brother), and (most gutwrenchingly) manipulate Molly Hooper into saying “I love you.” One of the strengths of Sherlock has been its awkward relationship to the course material. While generally faithful to spirit of the law, though not the letter, Gatiss and Moffat have created an intelligent and engaging show that’s as much an exploration of human relationships as it is of mystery. They took minor characters like Mycroft (who only appears in two stories and is mentioned in two others)...

I Want it to be Over: Suffering and A Monster Calls Feb03

I Want it to be Over: Suffering and A Monster Calls...

Suffering makes me so tired; lugging physical and emotional burdens is draining. It makes happiness hard to feel and strains relationships. It makes me feel heavy, even on days when I’m not distracted by work or projects. Or perhaps especially on those days. “Pain is the gift that nobody wants.” That’s what Philip Yancey writes in his book, Where is God When it Hurts? He’s talking about the fact that pain keeps us safe; it warns us not to keep our hand in a fire and tells us when there’s something wrong with our minds or bodies. But it’s hard to see it as a gift when that pain becomes unbearable. Conor O’Malley is a twelve-year-old boy who watches his mother’s life drain out of her due to cancer. For over a year, he’s witnessed a vibrant, hopeful woman wither into an emaciated, fragile shadow of her old self. Anger and fear consume him, and that comes out in how he interacts at school and with family. It is human for us to want suffering to end, even at the expense of others. Conor’s negative emotions also manifest in a reoccurring nightmare. In it, he sees his mother falling off a cliff. He races to grab her hand and catches it before she plummets into an abyss. For a long time he grips her wrist with all of his might. She yells his name and for him not to let go. But every night he lets her fingers slip out of his, and she falls into a pit of darkness. He claims he could have held on longer, but lets go instead. Why would he give up? Why would he let go? Why wouldn’t he fight for her? When a great monster comes walking,...

Passengers and Big Dreams Feb01

Passengers and Big Dreams...

Be ye warned: this article contains spoilers for Passengers. I like to dream big. I’m not content reaching only one person with a project; I want thousands to admire my ambition, the project’s goals, and the passion behind it! I want it larger, grander, more memorable! And that doesn’t just go for decisions here and there—it’s how I try to steer the course of my entire life, for better or for worse. I relate well to Aurora Lane, a colonist who wakes too early from hibernation aboard the Avalon, a ship taking her to a distant planet. There’s a scene in the film, Passengers, where she watches a video of her friends wishing her farewell. They are in their twenties at the time of recording, but because she’s been in hibernation for 30 years, she probably wouldn’t recognize them if she saw them now. She’s passed them by, a reality Aurora knew would happen, and one she’s embraced. As a journalist looking to spread her wings, Aurora paused her life, leaving behind all she knew in pursuit of the big story. Her friends hope that she’ll find happiness in becoming the first reporter to document the tale of being a space colonist, but at least one of them suspects that she would find greater joy in a simple relationship. I can hear how Aurora might have answered because it’s the same as I would respond: “Not likely.” Aurora decides that love isn’t so mundane after all. When I was younger, influenced by Tom Clancey novels and the movies based on them, I intended to become a government analyst. Top secret clearance, the ability to influence international affairs, the significance of doing something that affects people and nations—that sounded important, and worth striving for. So...

Episode 65 – Anime / Ai-Kon Jan31

Episode 65 – Anime / Ai-Kon...

The only podcast that reads from right to left, it’s Infinity +1! This week Jason, Allison, and Kyle are joined by Jacques Labrie from Ai-Kon to talk about everything anime! The Question of the Week and a very special Conundrum are just around the corner from Allison’s first Sweetdiculous Award and a strange tale from the town of Riverdale. Question of the Week: What is the weirdest anime you’ve ever watched and still enjoy? Then in the second segment, the hosts and Jacques tackle a few different angles on the history of anime. From Studio Ghibli to Dragon Ball Z, anime has as much variety has any other form of animation. What are some of the harmful stereotypes associated with it, where does it shine and what are its pitfalls? You’ll have to listen to find out! Sweetdiculous Award: Thor (2014) – From Marvel veteran Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman, this reboot of the Thor series starts with a mysterious female figure having taken the mantel of Thor. You may have the 3-year-old spoiler spoiled for you by now, but Allison says this series is Sweetdiculous! Support FanQuest on Facebook and Kickstarter The song in the break is It’s Not A Keygen by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Ai-Kon on Twitter: @aikonwinnipeg Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Questing for Deus Ex Machina Jan30

Questing for Deus Ex Machina...

Deus ex machina, literally translates from Latin as God from the machine, is used to describe a magical or technological intervention of the Divine that saves the day, generally in an implausible way. In the plays of the Greeks, deus ex machina was actually a machine (often a crane) that lowered a saviour into the midst of trouble to rescue the hero. One could, for example, describe the many appearances of the giant eagles in The Lord of the Rings as deus ex machina because it is a contrivance which conveniently rescues hapless heroes from fates like lava, fire, or tall towers. In addition, the well-written, but implausibly “magical” endings to most of the Harry Potter books make J.K. Rowling a master of deus ex machina. It has been postulated that the appearance of a phoenix with healing tears carrying a magical sword hidden in a hat is the best example of a deus ex machina in the Harry Potter universe. How do I find hope despite all the chaos that comes with the machines crumbling around me? While we can scoff endlessly at these contrivances in ancient literature and as they pervade current popular culture, it is impossible to live in the real world without wanting, even questing after deus ex machina moments. If we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we are desperate for these events to happen. We come to the end of our money and we yearn for someone to rescue us from financial ruin by being lowered from the rigging above. Our son, our daughter, friend, or lover lays in the hospital, dying from accident or disease. And we weep at the end of the bed, desperate for an encounter with the “god from the machine.” Every so often, we...

Lonely Like Naruto Jan27

Lonely Like Naruto

Feeling alone in a crowd is the worst. At events, parties, or even just walking through a mall, I’ve watched people laughing with their friends and wished mine were there with me (my two best friends live hundreds of miles away and I only see them twice a year). I’ve watched a daughter holding hands with her father, and wished my father had behaved that way with me. I’ve seen families play together at the park and wished I was the daughter with the grin on her face, looking up at two parents who are still together. Many people believe that loneliness means you don’t get out of the house much or you’re craving a romantic relationship, but the sort of cure for loneliness I’ve wanted in my heart is simple, innocent companionship. This is a desire that Naruto understands. Naruto grew up surrounded by people, but not by friends. He became an orphan within the first hour of his birth. He longingly watched families happy together. He wished for friends, but the kids around him neglected him. He was shunned for a past he had no knowledge of. They treated him as a parasite. In retaliation, Naruto began acting out to make people stop ignoring him. He played juvenile pranks and became the outspoken class clown. This gained him attention, but it didn’t gain him what he truly wanted: friendship. “The pain of being alone is completely out of this world, isn’t it? I don’t know why, but I understand your feelings so much, it actually hurts.”  —Naruto Uzumaki I didn’t act out for attention as a child, but I wanted friends. I had a few in middle school and high school, but after we moved I lost most of them. When distance...

The Upside-Down Villainy of Nimona Jan25

The Upside-Down Villainy of Nimona...

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! These are all things that make up Noelle Stevenson’s web-comic-turned-graphic-novel, Nimona, a silly but poignant story about heroes and villains. The twist in this tale? In Nimona, the villains aren’t really villains and the heroes aren’t really heroes. This is a story in which a kingdom has a Champion (the “good guy,”) and a Villain (the “bad guy”) who follow a routine: the Villain, Lord Ballister Blackheart, makes some mischief, and the Champion, Ambrosius Goldenloin, fights him off, Ballister goes home and comes up with his next plan, repeat. That all changes when Nimona, a young shapeshifting girl, shows up. As her story unfolds, the deeper question that arises is “what, exactly, makes a villain?” Villains on the surface The two surface villains in this story are Ballister, who wants to bring down the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, and his sidekick Nimona, who just wants to blow things up and cause general chaos. But we soon learn that Ballister has a deeper reason for his actions: he has a grudge against the Institution, which raised him to be Champion and then threw him out after he lost his arm in a joust with Ambrosius, who was his best friend. And, while Ambrosius always maintained that his injury was an accident, Ballister never believed him. Nimona’s origin story is more ambiguous. She can take any form she wants and heals incredibly quickly. Who is she? From where does she come? Those questions aren’t really answered, but there are clues scattered throughout the story: when Ballister wants to learn more about her powers and suggests running some tests on her in his lab, she reacts violently; in a battle with the Institution, she takes the shape of a scaly beast...