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Is That So?

Here's where I, Penelopae, blog about all things gaming. From text-based MUDs to the latest graphic adventures, I'm open to playing all games equally and without bias. Why don't you join me?

Author: penelopae

Suggested Gaming-Related Additions to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

Posted by penelopae Thursday August 16 2012 at 9:56AM
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Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is one of my favorites. It provided me with invaluable help not only in getting through high school and college, but also every day that I work as a freelance writer – which is just about every single day. I still have my battered, dog-eared copy from high school with original notes in the margins, some of them useful, some of them witty, and some of them just plain illegible. But where I used my dictionary the most was when gaming. You see, early versions of CMUD didn’t have automatic spellcheck and I was not going to ruin my nerd-girl image with something as common and foul as a spelling mistake.

But as much as I love my dictionary, it’s sorely outdated. Every year new words are added that have significant evidence of usage. And who provides that evidence? That would be written sources, from the pages of books to labels on our favorite alcoholic beverages. It can’t be a single instance though. The term has to be used with regularity over a long period of time. It even includes abbreviations to an extent. For instance, their website defines OMG as “oh my God” but doesn’t have an entry for WTF, which could mean a few different things. In the popular text MUD I play, it stands for “What the foozle?” with foozle being a type of scavenger hunt game.

Here are a few gaming terms that aren’t yet in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary that would enhance the resource guide with their presence. After all, they’re found in the Urban Dictionary and we all know its level of reliability.

  • pwn (verb) – Born when a WarCraft map designer misspelled “own”, the term pwn means to dominate. Any time you use owned as a synonym for dominate, you can replace it with pwn instead. An example is, “Last weekend while playing Call of Duty World at War, I found that map packs helped me to pwn the zombies.” Merriam-Webster suggests porn, prawn, prong, born, and pram as spelling suggestions on this one.
  • f2p (adjective) – This term means “free-to-play” and usually refers to games that also have a paid version or a pay-for-perks option. Here’s an example, “Iron Realms produces text-based games that are f2p while offering pay-for-perks to help players achieve top rankings faster than through in-game methods alone.” Merriam-Webster not only lacks the term, but they also tried to refer me to VP, FPO, fib, fob, and flap as options. Whatever.
  • arpee – (noun and a verb, depending on its usage) – Arpee is the phonetic spelling of RP, or RolePlay. I’m not talking about “teacher I’ve been naughty and need a spanking” roleplay, but the other kind where you roll stats for the persona of a neutral-good knight who battles chaotic-evil dragons and then spend your weekend typing furiously at your keyboard while trying to get to level 23. When I searched Merriam-Webster for the term, they suggested rupee, harpy, and aerobe instead. I don’t eve know what an aerobe is, but I’m guessing it has nothing to do with World of Warcraft.
  • skillset – (noun) This means a collection or group of skills and abilities. An example would be, “I was going to change from druid to magi but the skillset was all jacked up and I would have lost all my SPs.” However, if you look for it in the Merriam-Webster dictionary prepared to be directed to terms such as stylistic, thickset, and sightless instead.

Now, surprisingly they did have a few terms that are related to gaming even if their definitions were a little skewed. Bot was described as the larva of a botfly, especially ones that infest horses. As a verb they define keel as being cool, and suggest that it’s more or less a noun that means a flat-bottomed, coal-carrying barge. And of course, their only description for the abbreviation ATM refers to the machine that spits out cash. But, not all hope is lost. They did add f-bomb, sexting, and man cave along with this year’s entries.

What gaming-related words would you like to see added to the dictionary besides the ones above? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Why I Won’t Do Windows (8)

Posted by penelopae Tuesday August 14 2012 at 2:04PM
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I hate change. There, I said it! I didn’t like when Windows went from XP to Vista and wasn’t that impressed when Vista transitioned over to Windows 7. And I’m not happy that the next time I get a new laptop, that it will most likely have Windows 8 or higher. It would be different if the changes made it better but they’re not really better…they’re just, different. Here are some of the more specific reasons why I’m not looking forward to Windows 8, et al.

The Windows Store – I have Steam and Google Play, and that’s enough. I’m tired of sharing my credit card information with different companies. I don’t care if it’s the Tiffany’s of gaming stores, I’m going to stick with buying from the places where I’m comfortable buying, and that’s it. Fortunately most of the gaming I do is through a text MUD and it requires no download at all.

The Metro Interface – Convenient shortcuts cleverly disguised as colorful tiles looks fun on the surface, but deep down, it’s just annoying and glitchy. Don’t believe me? Try using it with a touch screen. It disappears like the statue of liberty under the command of David Copperfield. (So I’m told, unless you’re using a Samsung tablet which seems to sync nicely.) Or try using it to make changes to your PC. Figuring out how is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The Misleading Clicks – You know how on a flash interface you move your pointer into the little popup box and click? Yeah, you don’t do that with Windows 8. I understand Microsoft wanting to be new and different, but why did they have to try being different in a way that challenges everything I’ve ever known about using a computer or surfing the web? Did I mention I dislike change?

Wherefore Art Thou Buttons – Because the new interface doesn’t show any kind of address bar or tabs, how the heck was I supposed to find what I had opened as far as browsers and programs? I did find the answer when surfing the web on my Kindle Fire instead (Right-click an empty area on the webpage and abracadabra, there are the controls!) but really, how annoying.

Give Me All My Music Apps or Give Me Silence – Sure, the apps look pretty appearing as neat boxes that either have the traditional Windows music note icon or a copy of the album cover. However, if you have a big collection of music you can forget conveniently seeing it all at one time. When I’m playing my favorite games, which are some of the best F2P MMORPGs, I need certain soundtracks for things like hunting textual zombies and vampires. Only being able to see a limited portion of my music at a time makes it time consuming to find just the right track.

If I were using a Samsung tablet exclusively, I’m sure I’d love Windows 8 despite my resistance to change. But while working on my laptop computer I’m not such a fan at all. I hear even Executive VP of Game Design for Blizzard, Rob Pardo tweeted his dislike for the platform saying it “was not awesome for Blizzard.” And Valve’s Gabe Newell calls it “a catstrophe for everyone in the PC space.” Ouch! Reasons for this are why more and more computer gaming users are turning to Mac or Linux.

If you’d like to weigh in on the topic, I’d love to hear from you. Windows? Linux? Mac? Something else? Just leave a message in the comments section. I’d love to read it!

Happy gaming,

What is Your Gamer Sign? – Part 2

Posted by penelopae Monday August 6 2012 at 4:47PM
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Welcome back! Last week I posted Part 1 of this article, which bases what profession your character should take up on your astrological sign. Now let’s entertain what professions people born in the other half of the year might pick based on the month and day of their real-life birth.

The Occultist (September 23 – October 22)

You are a true diplomat, which makes you the perfect candidate to work the dark magics of the occult into places where they’d least expect it. Your peaceful nature makes it easy for others to trust you, and your romantic charm makes you a surefire hit with members of the opposite sex. While flirting, make sure you aren’t influenced to work for the other side, as flattery often tempts your self-indulgent side. Your inability to make a decision is your Achilles’ heel, so while it’s tempting to change your mind, sometimes you’ll have to just make a decision and stick with it, even in RPGs and text MUDs.

The Serpent (October 23 – November 21)

My, my, aren’t you a determined one, serpent of the astrological charts? The passionate, broad range of emotion that runs high within your core being is only tempered by your lust for power. As a serpent, your natural sense of jealousy is why you covet what others have, so why shouldn’t you steal it for yourself? Or better yet, steal it and sell it at a profit? Your ability to keep secrets and natural intuition will help you succeed in your new, shady career as one of Achaea’s more devious classes, as long as you are careful that your obsessive, obstinate traits don’t blow your cover.

The Master of Blades (November 22 – December 21)

Your eternal optimism draws others to you, and it’s the same with the class of the Blademaster. Your intellectual and philosophical sides are as sharp as the unique blade you will possess with Kavaya’s aide and Murad’s skill at the forge. Whether you fight for the side of good, the side of evil, or follow your heart and just fight for freedom in general, your honesty and jovial personality make you the perfect people-person to help recruit others to join in the battle. However, at times your optimistic can be as blind as love between a siren and a satyr, and your decisions might appear tactless and superficial to those who don’t know you well.

The Dark Knight (December 22 – January 19)

You are the Batman of Achaea, except you can’t always be depended on to fight for the side of what is true and right. You are practical and disciplined, which might make you a good candidate as an Infernal Knight who fights for Mhaldor, the City of Evil. However, your natural sense of humor and careful ambitious side mean you’ll get along well in any city. Because you can be a bit pessimistic, if not fatalistic, you’re a good person to lead the army in battle because, let’s face it, you’re probably all going to die anyway. If fighting for evil isn’t for you, there’s always the Runewarden class, which is popular in every other city but especially Cyrene, where it originated.

The Defender of Nature (January 20 – February 18)

Like all good tree huggers, Sentinels are generally happy, friendly humanitarians who can be depended on for their honesty and loyalty. You’re very smart, always coming up with original, inventive ways to protect the forests and take out its foes. Your lack of emotion towards others comes in handy when fighting off enemy forces, but certainly won’t earn you any favors with the opposite sex. And when you do get the chance to interact, your almost perverse way of joking is a bit of a turnoff to most others. Be careful; your unpredictable behavior makes you seem detached and tends to drive people away as well.

The Performer (February 19 – March 20)

Everyone knows that people born in this time are naturally creative, which is why it’s dedicated to the Bards and Jesters of Achaea. (But mostly it’s dedicated to bards who study performance art, while jesters are just semi-funny in their attempts to entertain the masses.) Your imagination knows no bounds, and your sensitive nature shines through your art, whether you’re being sensitive towards the subject matter or are reacting to the fact that someone hurt your poor, little feelings. Your downfall is that you tend to use your art as a means of escape and it leaves you a little out of touch with reality, a fact that allows you to be easily led by anyone with a stronger nature.

So, dear readers, do any of those sound like you? Personally, I am a Pisces and do happen to play a bard who gets lost in art. Imagine that! I hope you enjoyed the article, and would love to read your comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Textually yours,


What is Your Gamer Sign? – Part 1

Posted by penelopae Monday July 30 2012 at 8:31PM
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People look to their astrological signs for all kinds of advice, from daily horoscopes to what compatible sign is most likely to produce the love of their life. Are you creative and sensitive? You must be a Pisces! Generous and protective? That’s a Leo for you. Practical yet pessimistic? You’re a Capricorn for sure. Right? Riiiiight.

However, sometimes a blind hog really does find its lost acorns. If you’re looking to roll up a new character, try this handy, 2-part guide to help you choose a profession for it. The classes are based on what's available in Achaea, an Iron Realms MUD. Worst case scenario is that you totally hate it and have to re-roll. Just because you’ve always played a white knight doesn’t mean you can’t have a go at being a court jester or even a master of the occult. And who knows, you might even like it!
The Alchemist (March 21 – April 19)
  • Your adventurous, energetic spirit makes you perfect for the alchemy class. The newest of the classes in Achaea, your affinity for pioneering new planes, quick wit, and confident nature will take you far in the business aspect of the class, selling off minerals, filling vials with tonics and potions, and even restoring life to those who fall in combat or just the misfortune of misadventure. However, you should be careful that your quick-tempered, impulsive nature and lack of patience don’t sacrifice all your hard work, as daredevil attempts could be seen as foolhardy to those around you.
The Elementalist (April 20 – May 20)
  • Despite the fact that you can sometimes be a little possessive and greedy, your patience and dependability are just what’s required for being at one with the elements. Your determination means you’ll never stop growing in Achaea, whether you’re a magi or a sylvan. This class is accepted across every city without bias, from the Sylvan house in Eleusis to the magi who hold membership in the Warlocks of Ashtan. Stay focused on your own accomplishments and avoid being resentful of others when they try riding the coattails of your successes. Everyone needs a minion or two!
The Shamanic Artist (May 21 – June 20)
  • You are one of the most adaptable classes in Achaea, able to fit in with any crowd. One of the few creatures who can claim true neutral alignment, your witty repertoire of intelligent facts, eloquent compliments, and snappy comebacks make you as adept in conversation as you are skilled at your class abilities. Use your cunning nature to your own advantage when selling off your services with all things related to runes and totems. Whether you choose to join the Spiritwalkers of Hashan or the Cyrenian Rogues there’s a place for you in Achaea.
The Holy Grail (June 21 – July 22)
  • Priests and paladins are the backbone of Shallam, the City of Light, where forces of good are often charged with the job of defending their home. Your panache for making emotional attachments will cause you to fight with all available abilities to you as you ward off the forces of evil which could include citizens of Mhaldor, a malevolent city or Ashtan, where the citizens wait for the day when Oblivion will turn everything into nothing. Whether you’re a white knight of a Paladin or a holy Priest ready to heal your fallen comrades, this is the perfect class for those who enjoy battle and playing for Team Good.
The Telepath (July 23 – August 22)
  • Monks in Achaea are characterized by their powers of telepathy, and your creative, broad-minded nature makes you the perfect person to take up the role. Whether you’re using your powers of ingenuity to keep your fellow adventurers safe or prefer to act out your pompous, patronizing side to interfere in politics and run an organization your own way, you’re faithful to your cause regardless of its nature. Be careful though, with great mental powers comes great responsibility and your enthusiasm is contagious. Don’t hatch out your new plan unless you’re sure you can handle your loyal minions, erm, fan club members as well.
The Tree Hugger (August 23 – September 22)
  • Druids are worriers and it’s no different in Achaea. Will someone exterminate the forests today? Will a group of evil adventurers, their minds tainted from breathing in the red fog that plagues their island home, set out to destroy precious plants necessary for concocting elixirs and salves used for healing? Should you hug the willow tree, the ash tree, or the redwood tree? While deep down you’re really modest, some people mistake your shyness for arrogance and miss out on getting to know your intellectual, analytical side. Try not to be too overcritical and harsh towards them. After all, not everyone can live up to the perfectionist standards you set for your own self!
Stick around for Part 2 of this article to be posted later this week!
Textually yours,


RL Fireworks versus IC Firepower

Posted by penelopae Tuesday July 3 2012 at 12:12AM
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Typically on the 4th of July I do the same thing, year after year. Shut down the laptop, charge up my cellphone, and pretend to be checking in with work while keeping tabs on my favorite video games while enduring several hours of boring family banter at the grandparents’ house.
It’s not all bad. The food is pretty amazing considering my grandma cooks like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show. And even I admit that it was pretty amusing last year when Uncle Leo’s cigar dropped into the box of fireworks. His single act of carelessness turned what’s normally a 3-hour, snail-paced chorus of “Oooh”s and “Aaah”s into a 4-minute session of chaotic screaming from the grown-ups and excited squealing from the very young kids who enjoyed it immensely.
But this year, I have other plans. You see, several of my favorite games are offering perks this week and since the 4th of July always coincides with my vacation from work I have plenty of time to take advantage of benefits in a lot of them. Here are some of the ones I’ll be hitting up this week.
  • Battlefield 3 – This is one time when I really love being a premium player. While standard players get double end-match points through 1pm PST on July 4th, when the very real fireworks begin in the game, myself and the other premium Battlefielders get double XP through July 8th at one minute before midnight PST. Booyah!
  • Achaea – Right now the game is celebrating its 600 year games, due to the in-character date reaching Year 600. I really stank at the riddles challenge, but I’m hoping that I have enough credits to buy exclusive real estate. After all that’s where the big money is in all MUDs. And a huge expansion in a rather new area is the basis for a month-long quest. Complete 21 times in the month of July (only once per RL day though) and you’ll get a surprise prize. I LOVE SURPRISES!
  • Outwitters – Okay, this one really has no bonus perks and it’s not even one of my favorite games – yet. But when it launches on July 5th I fully intend to try out the multiplayer strategy game. From what I understand characters can be one of three different races, each with classes and combat specializations specific to each one. One comes free and while I’m not sure that I will purchase the add-ons, get back to me around July 7th or so and ask me then. I may have an entirely different perspective by then!
Regardless of how you spend your 4th of July week, enjoy your games but more importantly – enjoy your family. How do you plan to spend the holiday? And what are your favorite in-game bonuses? Would they make you more likely to play a game you'd avoided before, like MMORPGs or MUDs? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below. And in the meantime, have a safe and happy holiday!

Walking Dead Episode 2 - Me Versus the Zombies

Posted by penelopae Sunday July 1 2012 at 12:04AM
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Psst. I’m about to reveal a spoiler from Episode 1 so if you didn’t get to the end of it, you might want to turn back now...before it’s too late!
Okay, good. You’re still with me! 
I love zombies, and when AMC came out with the Walking Dead, I happily turned off my phone and computer every week to tune in to the new episode. From the moment Rick first woke up in the hospital to the Season-2 Finale when he revealed that they’re all as good as dead due to being infected with the zombie virus, I’ve never missed an episode. So when Telltale said they were coming out with a Walking Dead game, nobody I knew was more elated than me! And when I took sides with Kenny, and then chose to save Carley at the end of the Episode 1, I totally expected Episode 2 to pick up right where the first had left off. But did it? No!
Episode 2 starts out a few months later, and immediately I was faced with an intense decision. There’s a guy caught in a bear trap. Do I use the axe in my hands to get him out, or leave him for zombie fodder? And if I save him, how will I deal with getting enough food to feed? I mean, you have to remember that food’s already scarce as it is – it’s been several months since I saved Carley and all. Unlike Episode 1, this new chapter was making me think. And some of my choices made me feel guilty. Not even my favorite MUDs, where immersion was as close to “real” life as any game has ever been for me, had ever caused me to feel guilt.
So after making the decision of whether or not to save the guy in the bear trap (not to mention the other survivor who’s with him) two more survivors show up at the hotel to see if my posse has any gas to spare. These two informed my group about a dairy farm that was protected by electric fences. So now there’s another choice to make – do we go to the dairy farm or stay holed up in the hotel? Every choice I made caused me to pause, wondering what I would do in “real” life…which was silly, because contrary to recent crazies in the news who act like zombies, there’s not really any such thing.
The way the characters interact in Episode 2 helped immerse me into the game. It made the scenarios more realistic, and I didn’t feel like I was watching a TV show – I felt like I was IN the TV show. Episode 2 introduced new characters that made the ones in Episode 1 look bland in comparison! Because I already knew the basic commands, having pretty much figured them out when playing the initial segment, I think it helped me move along more quickly in this one as well. But just when I thought I had mastered them, Telltale threw a new element into the game, like sneaking along while hiding behind something.
There were a few things I had to repeat so that I could progress within the game, but I was having too much fun to care. I haven’t even finished Episode 2, and I’m already thinking ahead and wondering what Episode 3 will present! I’m sure that friends in my other MUDs and MMORPGs will notice my absence when it comes out later this summer.
Have you tried the Walking Dead game? What are your favorite zombie games? What is it about those games that makes them your favorites? I’d love to read all your comments!

Internet Killed the Video Game Star?

Posted by penelopae Thursday June 21 2012 at 10:34AM
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Two of the first games to offer a free-to-play (otherwise known as F2P) model were Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands in 1997 and Neopets in 1999. There have been others, but these were the two most notable, despite their obvious differences. Here are some of the contrasting and comparison points that stand out between the two games.
Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands
  • text-based multi-user dungeon (also called MUDs)
  • focused on roleplaying
  • player-run social structure including politics
  • collects real-life money for in-game perks
  • generates profit by offering players an optional, monthly subscription benefits package
  • virtual pet website with bright, colorful graphics
  • focused on caretaking of virtual pets
  • players earn points to get things for their pets by playing games
  • collects real-life money for in-game perks
  • generates profit when players earn points by taking part in advertisement-based forums, games, etc.
As you can see, the F2P model has its merits. However, there are a lot of gamers who prefer walking into a store or visiting a website (like Steam) and paying for a game outright via a one-time purchase because they know exactly what to expect. When I bought Skyrim, I knew I was getting, and not just because I’d played other Elder Scrolls series. Bethesda Games Studios made the Games of the Year in 2006 and 2008, so I knew epic graphics and a killer soundtrack were to be expected. And when I first played I wasn’t disappointed. It was easy to become fully immersed I the game within just a few moments of playing.
But what if….
What if the business model of video games as we know it requires a major transition in order to keep up with changing technology and the needs of society? Fifty years ago stores called Tower Records that sold – you guessed it – vinyl records opened in California and it wasn’t long until they were popular across the country. As the times changed, so did their stock which grew to include CDs, cassette tapes, DVDs, and even MP3 players and video games. They boasted three locations in New York City alone. (The one in the Village was my favorite!) Despite attempts to keep customers with programs like Tower Insider that allowed a membership card and discounts offered through e-mail, they couldn’t compete with the growing popularity of MP3 sharing.
While song lyrics claim that “video killed the radio star” it can also be said that the internet killed big-box music stores. But it’s not just affecting music retailers. Sites like Amazon are killing bookstores. Brick and mortar stores just can’t compete with computer technology and electronic gadgets like iPads, e-books, and computer apps that allow people to read entire volumes of books without ever manually turning the first page. Blockbuster video was another company who failed to adapt their business model quickly enough to keep up with changes posed by internet users.
Will the internet kill video game stores, too?
With this in mind, why wouldn’t video games be next in line? Are stores like GameStop next? Will awesome deals on previously used hard copies of games be sacrificed for the sake of digital distribution over remote connections, as with the popular Steam software? Or with F2P models like ones offered by MUDs? Only time will tell; but I’d like to know what you think about the topic. What are your predictions about the future of F2P and video game stores? Thanks for stopping by!

How I Became a Millionaire Playing Video Games

Posted by penelopae Monday June 18 2012 at 5:55PM
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Okay, I have to confess. It wasn’t me who made millions, but the half-elf mage I play in an MMORPG. And he wasn’t playing video games – he was playing the global commodities market. Can you blame him? Doing the same quests day in and day out is boring. So is fighting the same mobs that just respawn, over and over again no matter how many times they’re killed. Fortunately for me, the game I play has an auction house; it’s one of the most popular features! Before I knew it, I was rolling in millions more than my peers and it wasn’t difficult at all.

But that’s not really what this post is about. You see, a few years ago when I blogged about a similar topic, I started getting spam emails telling me how I could make a million dollars in real life by playing video games. Um…right, and beautiful pink pigs are flying around outside my window in a dazzling techno-color display of awesomeness. Fortunately I didn’t fall for it – but there was one I did fall for, revealed below. Here are some of the biggest scams involving not only video games, MMORPGs, and MUDs on your computer, but also ones on your cellphone, as well as how you can avoid being falling victim to them.
  • Free Phone Games Lead to High Phone Bills – Why? Because while you’re playing the game, your Windows phone is secretly dialing long distance numbers at premium rates that are billed to you, dear gamer. And don’t fall for the “Take this quiz and we’ll text you your results – and give you free social networking credits” trick, either. What they’re really doing is billing you for a high-priced subscription, and no matter how high your IQ really is you’ll feel pretty dumb seeing the charge on your cellphone bill. (I know I did!)
  • One Time Fee for Unlimited Free Games – Does that sound too good to be true? Guess what! It is TOTALLY too good to be true. If the “service” involves file sharing, then it’s probably also a form of piracy and therefore totally illegal.
  • Place Your Bets! – Actually, don’t place your bets. There are no federal laws in America that prevent you from throwing your money away on games like poker, blackjack, and roulette. But why would you throw away perfectly good cash? In all honesty I had a lot more fun at the betting tables in my favorite MUDs.
  • Being scammed? Go Phish! – Phishing scams are almost as old as email itself. Usually you’ll get an email that appears like it’s sent from the game developers, asking you to confirm some part of your account – like your account number, password, etc. Once you click the website and enter your personal information, it’s like you’ve just handed your wallet to a total stranger.
Falling victim to scams leads to a horrible reputation with your friends, your family, but worst of all with your creditors. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. And if it sounds like it might be a scam, it probably is. Never click links in email, ad never accept emails from websites you don’t trust.
Have you ever been victimized by a scam? Know someone who was? Share your story! I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.


Posted by penelopae Sunday June 17 2012 at 7:06AM
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No, I’m not talking about picking off members of enemy organizations; and I’m not talking about quietly plotting against people on the home team in acts of revenge, attempts to propel yourself up the ladder to success, or whatever. I’m talking about killing off the person who matters the most regardless if you’re into F2P, Video Games, MMORPGs, MMOs, or MUDs – and that person is YOU!
A Few Games that Offer Permadeath
Origins of Malu – Permadeath takes on a new meaning in this Indie sandbox. Their PvP system allows dueling to the death – which results in PERMADEATH! That’s badass…just as long as you’re the one coming out on top. I’d rather not risk putting all those hours into a character only to have it get wiped out at the hands of another player. (Well, unless it was an LOLalt created for that purpose. Then it could be fun.)
Diablo II and Diablo III – both versions offer a mode that’s fairly hardcore and gives characters a way to risk permadeath. Even then, it’s not a true permadeath as players can still access their in-game gold auction house funds. They don’t want people to put real-life cash into a character and then kill it off. The MUDs I play do the same – once you spend real cash on the game for one of your characters, you’re not allowed to kill off that character. However, the rest of them can bite it, through a decision the player makes OR by just not logging in, resulting in being purged.
World of WarcraftDELETE is the quickest and easiest way to permadeath here. However, I’ve heard rumors that in some cases Blizzard will overturn it. This also happened in a game I play called Achaea. Even though 2 people in the past real-life year have “SAID GOODBYE FOREVER OMG!!!” the admins brought them back. Awkward much? I’m sure they had good reasons, and I heard years ago that you can come back this way, but it is bad RP form, IMHO.
Why Do People Do Their Alter Egos In?
Reasons why people choose to permadeath include:
  • They feel their stats suck and want to reroll as a new character.
  • They want the game to feel as realistic as possible for their character.
  • They are just ready to stop playing the game altogether.
In the MUDs I play, there’s an option called “suicide” that lets you delete your character forever – just so long as you’ve never paid real-world cash for in-game products, like credits (a form of currency) or enjoyed the many perks of an Elite membership. Personally, my main character is still going strong after nearly 7 years of gameplay, but I’ve had many an alt (I like to call them my Penelopaes.) who did themselves in – usually via dramatic, heart-wrenching scenes that are mostly fun for me.
So what are your reasons for permadeath in a game? Are there any games I didn’t mention that you feel have awesome (or lacking) permadeath abilities? I’d love to read all your comments!

My Favorite Video Game Dads

Posted by penelopae Friday June 15 2012 at 11:25PM
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This coming Sunday many people across the country have plans to spend with their father-figures. However, like many of the rest of you I will be spending time with my favorite video game father figures! Without further ado, here are my top 5 favorites in order of least to most.
5. Don Corleone
In the movie he looked at Johnny Fontane and said, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Although director Francis Ford Coppola didn’t approve of Paramount’s releasing the game in 2006, I’m so glad they did. I love the Godfather book, the movies, and yeah, I love the video game, too. This is one of the few that can pull me away from my favorite MUDs. It’s always fun stepping into a virtual role associated with your favorite media entertainment, especially when Dad..erm..the Don is there.
4. Joe Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden)
Off in the wilderness through the first Ninja Gaiden game, daddy Joe was off training and thus left the Dragon Sword (ancient piece of weaponry passed down from one generation of Dragon warriors to the next) to his son, Ryu. That is so badass! I would MUCH rather that someone would give me a cool weapon for Father’s Day than me buying my dad another tie he doesn’t need. In the Dragon Sword game in the Ninja Gaiden series Joe eventually returns and impressed with Ryu’s skill with the weapon. Finally ready to parts with the sword, he tells Ryu to keep it…for-ev-er!
3. James
Did you see the movie Taken starting Liam Neeson as the dad who shoots anyone in the way of his adventure through France as he attempts to rescue his kidnapped daughter? His character of James in Fallout 3 is so not like that, at all. James is an uber-scientist who plans to clean up the radioactive water around Washington, D.C. (As someone who lives in the greater D.C. area, and has seen weird fishies growing in the Potomac, all I can say is, “Good luck, James!”) Sadly, he puts his work first which means his kid (i.e. you, playing the main character who is James’ kid) gets neglected. This would keep him off the list, except that personally I’d love to see someone clean up the water around the Potomac! Too bad he bites it shortly after the adventure begins.
2. Eli Vance
If you love Half-Life like I love Half-Life, then you probably have a soft spot for Eli Vance. Although he only lasts through the end of the [SPOILER ALERT!!!] second episode, his goodbye scene is one of the most heart-wrenching ones I’ve ever seen in any video game. I’ve watched the scene cause grown men to cry like PMS’ing women watching Sleepless in Seattle. He’s not a super-brilliant scientist like James. He’s not a badass mob boss like Don Corleone. He’s just a normal dad, the kind of dad who loves his kid…the kind of dad ever kid wishes they had. And I’m pretty sure that’s why he’s #2 on my list.
1. Darth Vader
Who can forget the famous line “Luke. (whoooosh-swoooosh) I am your father.” It has spurred parodies across generations of entertainment. Except Darth Vader actually never spoke those exact words. Here’s how it really goes down in the original film:
Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Darth Vader: No. I am your father.
Luke Skywalker: No... that's not true! That's impossible!
Yeah, worst father of all time is #1 on my list. Even moreso than some of the "dads" in my favorite MUDs. Sure he abandoned his kids, leaving the ignorance over their parentage to almost enter an incestuous relationship. Sure he fought his sun on several occasions with deadly light sabers. But when push came to shove he ‘fessed up and told Luke the truth. And then he stood by it to the end. How can you argue with that kind of a final chapter? I sure can’t!
Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! If you’re a dad, then Happy Father’s Day to you, and if you have a dad, don’t forget to at least text him on his big upcoming holiday. While we’re here, who’s your favorite father-figure from video games? Even from MMORPGs or MUDs?  I’d love to read all your comments!