The Fear of Disappointing Others is Strong with This One May25

The Fear of Disappointing Others is Strong with This One...

The other day, a friend asked me which I hate more—disappointing myself or others. Assuming the “others” are important to me, I choose them every time as the worst scenario. Even the thought of disappointing those I care about makes my insides twist up and my eyes sting from future tears. In Spider-Gwen #2, Gwen loses her phone and gains a concussion after a devastating fight with the Vulture. But it seems the thing she’s worried about most is not the threat of death, but disappointing others—her dad, her band mates, even the illusion of Spider-Ham who shows up to offer counsel in her concussed state. Rather than stick around to face their disappointment, Gwen has disconnected herself from all the people who care about her. It’s a common super hero trope—leave the people closest to you so they don’t get hurt—but in Gwen’s case, she’s leaving them so she doesn’t get hurt. “Being a super hero is way more than facing bad guys, Gwensday… sometimes you gotta face real life,” Spider-Ham says to her. Walling myself off from others is always the easy answer—it protects me from so many vulnerabilities. Why not just live in solitary to avoid all the messy emotions—feelings that can leave me curled up in a distressed ball on my bed, that can cause so much stress I get physically sick. Except I’ve faced that loneliness before, and I’ve found that the messiness of relationships are worth it. I get tired of carrying my baggage around all by myself, and I’ve found the people who love me are often willing to help me with it. It seems Gwen comes to the same conclusion, because at the end of this comic, she finds her dad in an alleyway. Holding up Gwen’s cellphone that he...

On The Bright Sessions: Superpowers Can’t Cure Loneliness May23

On The Bright Sessions: Superpowers Can’t Cure Loneliness...

In the podcast The Bright Sessions, a scripted serialized drama about a group of misfits with superhuman abilities called Atypicals, characters explore a broader story of social isolation and the deep-seated desire for community. Writer and director Lauren Shippen surprised me by resisting clichés and overused tropes, taking The Bright Sessions to unique creative territory. Currently in its fourth season, it’s no wonder this show will have a series of YA novels published in the next year and is in development for television. Each Atypical patient describes the pain of feeling unconnected—the loneliness and isolation of feeling like they don’t belong. Each episode of the podcast’s first season is presented as a recorded therapy session between Dr. Joan Bright and one of her several Atypical patients. They have a lot to talk about as the patients try to understand how to cope with their developing abilities. While they have different and varied experiences with their abilities, they all struggle with social isolation: Caleb, an empath, can’t connect with his fellow high school students because he’s overwhelmed by their emotions; Sam, an orphaned time traveler, shuns other people for fear of hurting them; Chloe, a telepath, finds it difficult to be around others. Other superhuman characters occupy the margins of these episodes, suggesting similar frustrations: Frank, a homeless ex-marine, has PTSD and some Atypical abilities; Damien, an anti-social Atypical, can influence people to do his will. Each character expresses the pain of being alone, of not feeling connected to a larger group of family or friends. Shippen’s world is populated with people desperate to connect but unable to do so. Many of the characters use aliases to enforce their social isolation, deflecting personal and familial associations. Damien, for instance, uses his alias to project an...

Westworld and Basing Our Identity on Others May21

Westworld and Basing Our Identity on Others...

Spoiler Alert: This article contains details from Season One of Westworld. For the artificial hosts of the TV series Westworld’s resort, life is a daily invitation to be lied to, cheated, shot, or assaulted—all in the service of letting humans have a good time. In the first episode of Westworld, I wondered if the hosts had unexplored potential. Bernard (the lead designer of the hosts’ behavioural algorithms) is interviewing a host named Dolores. While she sits unblinking, he asks, “Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” Author and mystic Thomas Merton writes, “Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self . . . My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love—outside of reality and outside of life. And such a self cannot help but be an illusion.” Living with humility is the hard work of pushing through the self-image I’ve created and deciding who I really am. In essence, when I define myself by outside forces, my “false self” conforms to other people’s ideas. The hosts of Westworld exist solely to prop up other people’s illusory selves. Similarly, we often do what we think other people want us to and let our actions define our identity. Fortunately for us, Merton suggests a way to shed the illusion and own the truth about ourselves; his solution is humility. If we are open to the circumstances of our own lives, pay attention to what really matters, and avoiding the temptation to feed our ego by imitating or placating others, we may find a more substantial basis for our identities. Living with humility is the hard work of pushing through the self-image I’ve created and deciding who I...

Where Are the Sick Characters in Pop Culture? May18

Where Are the Sick Characters in Pop Culture?...

As someone who struggles with a chronic illness, I can’t always relate to my fictional superheroes. Thor’s abs and Wonder Woman’s stamina never give up, after all. The heroes are almost always strong, beautiful, and not sick. If a character with an illness or chronic pain does show up, they’re often a weak link for the hero to save; their illness is mentioned once as the butt of a joke; they’re useless until they’re healed; or they’re only there to provide inspiration for the hero’s journey. These tropes are frustrating for those of us who face sickness every day in a society that doesn’t know what to do with us. But sometimes I come across characters who represent accurate struggles of being chronically ill. Here are some of my favourites: 1. Remus Lupin, Harry Potter Lupin doesn’t consider himself a worthwhile member of society because that’s what the world keeps telling him. For example, as soon as word gets out that he’s a werewolf, he has to vacate his position as a Hogwart’s professor in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because people don’t want him teaching their children, even though he is safe as long as he drinks his potions. J.K. Rowling has stated that Lupin’s condition is meant to mimic the stigma of blood-borne diseases. His fear of accepting love is a very real thing people with chronic conditions face daily. “‘I am not being ridiculous,’ said Lupin steadily. ‘Tonks deserves somebody young and whole.’ . . . ‘But she wants you,’ said Mr. Weasley, with a small smile. ‘And after all, Remus, young and whole men do not necessarily remain so.'” —Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince 2. Izumi Curtis, Fullmetal Alchemist Edward and Alphonse’s alchemy teacher, Izumi is a tough, stubborn, ...

When Identities are Forced Upon Us: Furyborn and Prophecy May16

When Identities are Forced Upon Us: Furyborn and Prophecy...

Prophecies are a staple plot device in fantasy fiction: they reveal information, advance the plot, and create intrigue around characters. But they are also subject to interpretation. The way they are understood often has more impact on the story than the prophecy itself. For example, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry finds out that there is a prophecy about him. But, the prophecy doesn’t mention him by name, just that “the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies.” As it turns out, two boys were born at the end of July: Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom. Though Voldemort chose Harry, he could have chosen Neville just as easily. Voldemort’s interpretation of the prophecy is what led to Harry becoming the Chosen One, not the prophecy itself. Some secrets—like sexual orientation and past abuse—are scary and life-changing, and people should not be forced to reveal them when they are not ready. Interpretation of prophecy is one of the major themes in Furyborn by Claire Legrand, because the identity of the protagonist, Rielle, becomes wrapped up in one. In Furyborn, the people of Celdaria have lived with one central prophecy for hundreds of years—one day, two Queens will rise: the Sun Queen, who will save the world, and the Blood Queen, who will destroy it. In this world, people have the ability to manipulate one of seven elements. However, while magic users need to channel their powers through something, these two Queens will have the ability to perform magic at will—and they will be able to manipulate all seven elements simultaneously. Rielle has been able to use multiple elements her whole life. But, after causing a fatal accident with fire at the age of...

Playing Light Fall Means Accepting I will Fail...

Light Fall, a recent platformer released on April 28, 2018, by Bishop Games, is not an easy game. Once past the tutorial stage, the game moves so fast I had trouble seeing danger before it was too late. And yet, I still find it fun. I’ve enjoyed the hours I’ve put into it. I’ve liked the challenge. I rarely ever feel this way about my own life or work. I tend to associate ease with skill, so I expect a successful journey to be a smooth one. If I have difficulty achieving a goal, then I assume there’s some deficiency in me. But if I actually enjoy the challenge of Light Fall, shouldn’t I also face them well in life? Light Fall puts players in control of a bright-eyed sprite in a dark world and demands the world is explored at breakneck speed. Characteristically, I found myself taking a slow, methodical approach to the opening levels but soon discovered I needed all the momentum I could get. It was impossible to make it through some stretches without failing two, three, or even ten times! Light Fall offers limited tools to get the job done—namely, the Shadow Core, a magical box that lets me move through the game’s stages in ways that would be impossible for Mario or Luigi. It literally allows me to make a way where there was none before, and although it grants me more mastery and freedom, there are limits and obstacles that are still tricky to overcome. In life, as in Light Fall, flawless first runs are happy coincidences; even so, I’ve come to crave and expect them. It turns out the biggest obstacle is me. Light Fall makes it possible to string together beautiful, satisfying runs and it’s a...

10 Female Video Game Characters Who Aren’t Objectified...

Sex sells, which is why video games have a history of objectifying female characters. Many games also feature women with little to no autonomy—think of the princesses Peach and Zelda, waiting in their respective castles for the heroes of plumbers and time to rescue them. They are often stereotypical in their roles—soft-spoken healers who care for the emotions of the party, only there as a side character or love interest. But female, playable characters with three-dimensional personalities and backstories, those who are not objectified for their body types, are gaining momentum in the video game industry. Here are some of our favourites: 1. Chell — Portal Chell is a silent protagonist and, as a test subject, she is physically fit but her jumpsuit is not designed to look sexy. You learn about her, not through dialogue, but by your unrelenting attempts to escape and GLaDOS’s responses to your actions. In the Portal 2: Lab Rat comic, her file says: “Test subject is abnormally stubborn. She never gives up. Ever.” We love that her stubbornness is built in as a function of the game. “The female protagonist of Portal remains fully clothed, from head to knee, throughout the entire game. Moreover, her gender is not used to sexualize the shooter, or market it to horny teenage boys, in any way. No, the hero of Portal just happens to be a normal-looking and normal-dressing woman, like 50% of the world’s population. Imagine that.” —Charlie Barratt “The Top 7 Lazy Character Cliches” (GamesRadar) 2. Aloy — Horizon Zero Dawn Aloy doesn’t deny her femininity to be strong. She isn’t crude, arrogant, or violent to overcome being a woman in a man’s world. She isn’t searching for a male figure to date or marry either, and isn’t consumed with the desire...

Why Choose Reality When We Could Live in the Matrix? May09

Why Choose Reality When We Could Live in the Matrix?...

Which would you take—the red pill or the blue pill? The question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. The red pill represents the full picture of reality—truth and all it entails. Your eyes are opened, but in that freedom you will find struggle, even overwhelming hardship. The blue pill, on the other hand, allows you to live happily unaware. You’ll be able to live the way you always have, remaining blind to harsh reality. As Cypher notes in The Matrix, “Ignorance is bliss.” The red and blue pill metaphor has become entrenched in our culture as a reality check. After all, I never wondered if Neo made the right decision to gulp down the red pill and battle against alien machines; I just cheered him on as he did. And I became angry with Cypher when he took the blue pill and jeopardized the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar. But I have to admit, the choice is tempting; the reality of the Matrix is ugly and dangerous, and that steak that Cypher is eating as he contemplates his decision looks really delicious. I like to think that I would never pick the blue pill like he did, but I’m not sure the choice is that simple, especially when the truth can be unpleasant. Why would you swap comfort for cold fact? Real life is a little more complicated than red and blue pills. Although I want to be like Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus—not only perceiving reality but fighting against the very things that enslave them—I often live the way Cypher wants to, blissfully enjoying my ignorance. I distinctly remember in seventh grade, I tried reentering my school building from the courtyard during lunch break, which was against the rules, and a teacher...

Avengers: Infinity War Defines Love that Lasts Forever May07

Avengers: Infinity War Defines Love that Lasts Forever...

WARNING: Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War ahead! Avengers: Infinity War contrasts what cannot last with what endures forever. The main issues at stake are, after all, “infinity” stones. It’s intriguing that, despite their names, these stones command forces that are finite in scope within our universe: power, space, time, reality, soul, and mind. The one notable force that has no infinity stone is love—and perhaps, given the paradoxical nature of the other stones, this is intentional. Thanks to the film’s enormous cast, there are an unusually large number of relationships hanging in the balance as Thanos stalks across the universe in search of the stones. And the explored relationships aren’t all on the heroes’ side; I was surprised to discover that part of Thanos’s motivation is his own twisted concept of love. Selfish Love Throughout the film, Thanos’s self-serving “love” is juxtaposed with the legitimate love demonstrated by the Avengers and the Guardians. First, there’s Thanos’s attitude towards the universe: according to Gamora, “he only ever had one goal: to wipe out half the universe.” Thanos believes it’s his job to maintain “balance.” He doesn’t see his actions as the destruction of billions of lives; he believes he’s giving the remaining billions the chance to experience better existences. In the film, just like in life, sometimes we wonder if love is worth it. Infinity War also highlights a much more personal relationship for Thanos: his status as a father to Gamora, whom he adopted after destroying half the population of her planet. Of all his “children,” Gamora is Thanos’s favourite, even though she hates everything about him. In order to obtain the soul stone, Thanos has to sacrifice what he loves most. Gamora taunts him, believing that there is nothing he loves, and therefore...

6 Video Game Characters with Chronic Conditions...

Video games let us live power fantasies, playing as heroes who epitomize mental fortitude and physical vitality. Characters too sick to leave home or struck with debilitating symptoms mid-combat aren’t usually the playable heroes; usually, characters who suffer from illnesses are the NPCs in need of escorting or rescuing. However, some video games are beginning to reframe empowerment by telling stories about characters who live (and save the day) with chronic conditions. Here are six that should be on every gamer’s radar. 1. Rhys, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance & Radiant Dawn Rhys spends his childhood sickly and bedridden, daydreaming of sword fights, flying, playing with the laughing children outside his window—anything but living with cramps, fevers, body spasms, nausea, dizziness, and the fear of being a burden. Eventually taking up the staff of a priest (but unable to cure himself), Rhys endures many years being denied permanent employment due to his chronic illness before finding acceptance among the Greil Mercenaries, a group led by a warrior with a disabled arm. Years later, Rhys gains enough field experience to become a wielder of powerful light magic, but finds his greatest joy simply in being surrounded by friends and coworkers who understand that he “can’t help being barfy all the time.” “Rhys participates in battles despite his illness. He’s a rare example in [the Fire Emblem] series of a healer you get in the early game who is a male.”— Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Memorial Book Tellius Recollection: The First Volume 2. Athena Cykes, Ace Attorney: Duel Destinies An 18-year-old prodigy lawyer, Athena uses her ultra-sensitive hearing to help discern witnesses’ emotions in court. As a child, her susceptibility to sensory overload provoked anxiety and insecurity, causing her to skip school and live a...

Singers Wanted for a Harry Potter concert! May02

Singers Wanted for a Harry Potter concert!...

Do you have vocal experience? Do you want to be part of a community that sings and learns together? Do you say “Alohomora” when you unlock your car door from a distance? Then Incantatem might be the choir for you! Based in Winnipeg, Incantatem practices on Monday nights and will be preparing for a Harry Potter concert this fall, with practices starting at the end of May. Singers must be able to read music. There are no member fees involved. Incantatem is a project under Geekdom House, a charitable, faith-based organization. Our concerts are not religious in nature and you do not need to be a Christian to participate as long as you are not antagonistic towards other faiths and accept that the group prays before practices. Incantatem is especially looking for tenors. Message allison@geekdomhouse.com to set up an...

Expecting People to Conform is Not Love May02

Expecting People to Conform is Not Love...

Over the course of my life, I’ve developed a mold in my head for the ideal way to live. I often think I know better than others, with opinions about how they should act, what job they should have, etc. When someone doesn’t fit into this mold, I’ve disassociated with them or tried to cram them into it. Subconsciously, I’ve thought of these people as “uglies”—a term from the YouTube dystopian short film by David Armsby called Being Pretty. Being Pretty is a three-minute video that’s gained over three million views. In the video, “pretty” doesn’t mean physically attractive, but refers to conformity into the artificial intelligence-controlled city of Autodale. The first half of the short is a public service announcement, given by a Handyman (a robotic sentinel), explaining to children that their dad is “pretty” because he reads the newspaper, kicks his feet up after a hard day’s work, and provides for his family; their mom is “pretty” because her cooking is great, she keeps the house clean, and reads them bedtime stories. The Handyman tells the children they will grow up to be “just like” one of their parents and reminds them to “stay pretty.” Perhaps people I think are “ugly” just aren’t like me. In Autodale, anyone who doesn’t conform is considered “ugly.” The second half of the film reveals that “uglies” include anyone old, gay, crippled, sterile, disfigured, fat, or even those who suffer from depression—and the Handymen brutally discard them like trash. This chilling tale made me think, “Do I see people as ‘uglies’ and discard them out of my life?” If we consider beauty as something more than physical appearance, the phrase “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” takes on new meaning. Someone I consider “pretty”...

Knowing What It’s Like to be Weak: Leadership and Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Apr30

Knowing What It’s Like to be Weak: Leadership and Katsugeki Touken Ranbu...

“He’s reckless, rough, inexperienced, quick to fight, and in some ways, he seems very unstable.” That’s an appropriate description of Kanesada from Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, and pretty much any new leader, including me. During my first semester of university, I was determined to lead all my group projects, even though I was inexperienced. I learned the hard way that not everyone was as concerned about making deadlines or producing detailed work as I was. Not everyone could attend rehearsals. Not everyone had the same opinions. Not everyone could speak as fluently as the others. And I made a big error as a leader that hurt others and cost me my pride. Doubts and weaknesses are part of being a respectable leader. Kanesada also makes a mistake. As one of the human manifestations of Japanese swords who are sent back in time to protect history, Kanesada is a captain assigned to five other swords. But his mission goes terribly wrong. One member gets critically injured, and they are all called back prematurely. Although history is preserved, many civilians’ and soldiers’ lives are needlessly lost, leaving Kanesada questioning: “Can we really say we’ve preserved history if we’ve failed to protect so many other things?” Blaming himself for the failure of the mission, Kanesada falls into brooding depression, avoiding his teammates and getting angry when they call him captain, because he believes he failed as their leader. He distracts himself by training intensively or burying himself in excuses. He is unable to forget his failure, replaying it over and over in his head: “Did our mission really end the way it should have?” Kanesada finally seeks out the counsel of the oldest sword, Mikazuki. Mikazuki had sensed something more than recklessness in him, which is why Kanesada...

Not How We Look, but How We Play: Facial Deformity and Video Games...

Many of us struggle with our appearance, particularly our faces. We want to be attractive, but we don’t feel that way. And faces can be important to understanding each other; movements of the eyes and lips allow us to share warmth or heartbreak. But when we are uncomfortable with ourselves, we hide behind a mask of indifference, hoping to please others or protect ourselves by playing a role. Sometimes, however, masks allow us to genuinely share who we are without fear of rejection, and video game avatars have allowed me to do just that. As someone with hemifacial microsomia—a lopsided face—feeling respected for who I am deep down is challenging. People with facial deformities or blemishes relate to others in ways that may be difficult to understand (the recent movie Wonder helped demonstrate this). Many of us grew up experiencing funny looks and hearing less-than-kind remarks. Most kids eventually learn that it is not polite to ask, “Why does your face look funny?” but by the time a person’s peers reach that stage, the question has already been internalized. (As an adult, however, I sometimes appreciate the candor of people who politely inquire.) In fiction, disfigurement can be a sign of being destined for something amazing, like Harry Potter’s scar, but often it is a symbol of shame or villainy, like Batman’s Two-Face. Video games create worlds where those who look strange can interact normally through digital masks. Video games that include underrepresented characters allow players to enact aspects of their own stories. Many have enjoyed Horizon Zero Dawn because they know what is like to be an outsider like Aloy. Similarly, Overwatch’s Symmetra is on the autism spectrum. Finding ourselves in these stories, being characterized as heroes instead of villains, reminds us that...

MCU Watchlong – Guardians of the Galaxy...

But new batteries in your Walkman, and get hooked on a feeling, it’s another MCU Watchalong! Join Jason, Dustin Schellenberg and Tim Webster as they extend their gaze to the cosmic Marvel universe to get funky with Guardians of the Galaxy! 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 Dustin’s Twitter: @PDschellenberg River City Sabers Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 2 Apr25

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 2...

In Part 1, we went through most of the Avengers and their impact on the world. Here we have several more Marvel heroes who will face Thanos’ Infinity-gauntleted fist and perhaps death. Which heroes will fall and what legacy have they left behind? Each character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had an effect on both their world and mine. If any of them aren’t going to make it through this fight, here’s how I’d want to see their final scenes play out. 1. Black Panther “Vengeance has consumed you. It is consuming them. I am done letting it consume me. Justice will come soon enough.” T’Challa is the newest addition to the Avengers’ growing ranks and boy, is he a worthwhile one. After his father is assassinated in Civil War, T’Challa accepts the mantle of Black Panther just in time to defend Wakanda from a nearly successful coup. He might hold the most balanced moral center of any hero appearing in Infinity War—the weight of his own beliefs, the influence of his role as Black Panther, and the well-being of an entire nation all rest on his shoulders and he doesn’t take that lightly. After he broke down the exclusionary policies of Wakanda, T’Challa showed us it’s always better when humanity builds bridges instead of walls. The perfect send-off: With the vibranium suit, superhuman abilities, and army of Wakandans at his back, Black Panther would not go down easily. We haven’t seen Thanos collect the Reality Stone yet, but I’d love to see it used in the style of Doomwar to molecularly turn all vibranium in Wakanda inert, and then Black Panther takes down a member of the Black Order before being overwhelmed. 2. Gamora “Whatever nightmares the future holds are dreams compared...

Episode 125 – Undead Dinner Conversation...

The only podcast that insists on ketchup with their brains… it’s Infinity +1. This episode is about addiction and vampires. Kyle, Allison, and Emma also debate which undead character they’d have over for dinner. The music in the break is “Just Another Day” 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 Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @GeekWrites Emma’s Twitter: @emmaskrumeda Emma’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emmajulianartistry/ Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from Teepublic. RAMA Kickstarter: Emma’s death...

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 1 Apr23

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 1...

As Infinity War’s release looms just a few days from now, my mind has been racing with questions—which heroes will be squashed under Thanos’ Infinity-gauntleted fist and what impact have they left behind? Each character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had an effect on both their world and mine. If any of them aren’t going to make it through this fight, here’s how I’d want to see their final scenes play out. 1. Iron Man “We need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I’m game.” The genesis of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe came as a total surprise to everyone. Without Iron Man’s caustic wit, Scrooge McDuck-level wealth, and awakened willingness as a reluctant hero, the world would be a Chitauri-infested disaster. Tony Stark reminds us it’s not the perfect who are called to be heroes, but the willing. It’s never too late to bend that weapon into a ploughshare, to try to build a shield when all you’ve ever known are swords. The perfect send-off: We’ve seen a strong mentorship connection develop between Tony Stark and Peter Parker. If Iron Man has to die in Infinity War, I want to see Spider-Man do something recklessly heroic only to have it utterly fail, and Iron Man swoop in to take the killing blow. 2. The Hulk “That’s my secret Cap, I’m always angry.” Two movies couldn’t make audiences care about the best “monster-inside-me” in Marvel until Mark Ruffalo’s soft charm grounded him as a man who fears and resents the power he wields. As an intellectual peer to Tony Stark and a physical match to Thor, Banner justifiably wants to run from his fears. There’s not a braver moment for Banner than when he Vespas back to Manhattan, realizing that...

7 Video Game Characters with Disabilities...

Roughly 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability. Applied to video games, that means one of the seven Sages, two members of Organization XIII, and eight fighters on the Super Smash Bros. Wii U roster should, realistically, be disabled. There’s quite a gap in representation from video games and other pop culture mediums. However, some games are beginning to tell stories featuring heroes, villains, NPCs, and playable characters with disabilities. Since you might already be familiar with Joker, Taimi, and Bentley, here are seven video game characters with disabilities that deserve deeper discussion. Noctis Lucis Caelum, Final Fantasy XV Noctis spends part of his childhood in a wheelchair, having barely survived a daemon’s wrath. Even after recovery, however, his left leg retains a permanent limp—most easily noticed during gameplay when he’s not sporting a jacket. The game never points out Noctis’ impairment with words, nor does Noctis’ character arc require him to overcome his handicap as the “chosen one.” Yet, by the time he confronts the final boss while wearing a leg brace, it’s obvious that Noctis is the first Final Fantasy hero (and one of few gaming protagonists) with a physical disability. “Though [Noctis] was chosen by the Crystal to serve as the savior of this star, an injury incurred as a young boy deprived him access to the full potential of his innate power.”—Final Fantasy XV Dossiers Ardyn Izunia, Final Fantasy XV Try as he might to disguise it with his swaggering gait and layered clothing, Ardyn’s stiff left hip is betrayed by a wobbly knee, skewed center of gravity, and myriad of other anatomical winces, twitches, and nuances. These unspoken subtleties not only serve as the earliest clue to Ardyn’s heritage and reinforce his role as Noctis’...

Episode 124 – The Cabbage Patch Queen...

The only podcast that puts cabbage on tacos, it’s Infinity +1! Join Kyle, Justin, and Emma as they choose what superpower they’d want their best friends to have. In the second half, they discuss Violet Evergarden and assumptions on disability. The music in the break is “GB Hauz” 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 Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Justin’s Twitter: @TheKoop13 Emma’s Twitter: @emmaskrumeda Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...