Heart Piece Podcast 1-Year Anniversary!

Let me paint a picture for you. Since yesterday, MasterJoe has been battling with a scratchy throat. The culprit? Maybe it was the weather change, or maybe it was his cat, Umi, who has been a bit under the weather herself. He has just woken up from a very long nap and was eating a freshly prepared bowl of condensed Chicken Noodle Soup when he jumped online to check social media, he saw this:

WELL GOOD GOLLY HPEEPS! It's been a year since this!

March 20th. I'm pretty sure our facial expressions were exactly the same now as they were then. We cannot believe how quickly this year went by! We wish we had a big celebration planned for you all but it really did sneak up on us. Still, we want to take some time to sit down and say thank you to all of our amazing Kickstarter backers who made this podcast possible. The Heart Piece Podcast has touched so many lives over this past year that it's truly shocking to us. When people see us, they want to know how the podcast is. They tell us about an episode they listened to. Or they tell us about a relationship of theirs. It's really humbling and inspiring to see that the thing we set out to do with this podcast is actually happening.

Let's take a look at what we've done this year:

Yup, it's been a pretty incredible first year for us here at HPHQ and we hope it's been a good one for you too. Running a weekly podcast is actually a lot tougher than we thought, and we've been able to identify some pain points in our production, the biggest of which include MasterWife getting her PhD and our impending move to Florida which has required MasterJoe to travel once a month since January. (You've probably noticed we haven't released an episode since our MAGFest recap. That is why). In addition to these lulls, sometimes we get so busy that we forget to update you all and that lack of communication bothers us the most. So we're sorry about that! Things are clearing up for us. We're getting through the rough patches and we've learned a lot from our experiences which will help us produce an even better podcast for you all. In fact, we've already started making some adjustments this year and there are more that we plan to make in the future.

Speaking of the future, we've got some awesome things coming up.

Like we, mentioned in our latest episode, we got the chance to shake hands with some amazing folks at MAGFest, all of whom we're planning to invite to HPHQ in the near future. Some new voices, some familiar ones. Some big, some small, but we couldn't be more excited. Later in the year we also have some video content planned for you all! Oh yeah. Make ready your eye holes for more HP goodness.

Thank you all for your continued support, love, comments, emails, tweets, and other various forms of communication that you've engaged us in. We carry all of those interactions with us and they encourage us so much. You all are the manifestation of the positive impact that we've been working to make on the gaming community. We cannot wait to meet more people, have more chats, and play more games together! Thank you for sharing this first year with us. Here's to many more!

MasterJoe vs the Bowhemoth!

A-hoy Heart Pieces! We got the opportunity to chat with the incredible Dave Proctor, co-founder of 13AM Games and producer of the brand new Wii U exclusive, Runbow! You'll be able to listen to our interview with Dave tomorrow but you can watch MasterJoe take on the legendary Bowhemoth right now! Place your bets for how many times he fails! It pleases the Bowhemoth.


#RIPIwata - Reflections

It's been a difficult day. Late last night I heard that we had lost Satoru Iwata, President of what I consider to be the greatest video game company in the world, Nintendo, due to complications with a growth in his bile duct, i.e. cancer. This hits home for me on a personal level for several reasons.

As the gaming community mourns, I decided that I would add my voice to theirs as I share in that mourning at a core level. Nintendo is my childhood. It makes up so much of who I am as a person. Though I never met him, I will miss Mr. Iwata.

Below is an audio recording of my reflections on his passing and my hopes for the gaming community at large in his wake. Please take a listen and share with others if you see fit.

To Mr. Iwata I say thank you for never forgetting the fun.

-MasterJoe

a•part•ment Demo (Long Play)

It's a pretty rare thing to play a game which can only be described as a masterpiece. It's even more rare when said game is about a breakup.

Back in May, MasterWife and MasterJoe caught wind of a Kickstarter campaign for a game about relationships. That game was a•part•ment: a separated place. The Kickstarter has since been fully funded and then some with a full release date sometime in 2016. Since we backed the campaign, we received an extended demo for the game. We played it, it blew our minds, and now we cannot wait for the full release.

We hope you enjoy our long play of the demo! If you'd like to try the demo out for yourself first, which we highly recommend, it is available for PC, Mac, and Linux here:

http://apartmentga.me/demo/

 

If you think that was amazing then get this. Later today we'll be chatting with two of the developers of the game, Robyn Gray and Richard Emms, for Monday's episode of the podcast! Here's a little bit about them:

Robyn Gray

Robyn Gray is a co-founder and designer at Otherworld Interactive. She graduated in 2014 from USC's Interactive Media MFA program. She is the lead narrative designer and jack-of-all-trades on a•part•ment, which served as her USC Master's thesis.

 

Richard Emms

Richard Emms is an Experience Engineer at Oculus VR. Graduating from USC's Interactive Media MFA program in 2014, his master's thesis was on visualization and analysis of interactive systems of play. He is lead designer and lead programmer on a•part•ment.

#wcw - Oracle

This post is dedicated to a friend of mine. We love you buddy. You're going to be just fine.

Not to be confused with this Oracle, and certainly not with this Oracle, (that guy's a jerk), Barbara Gordon is our woman crush of the day. For this post we are specifically focusing on Barbara after the events of The Killing Joke and her gruesome run-in with the Joker. For those of you who have heard of Barbara Gordon but don't know very much about her as the Oracle, we'll break it down for you really quickly.

During the events of the one-off Batman graphic novel, The Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon, who up to this point had been masquerading with Batman as Batgirl, is visited at her home by the Joker...

OracleCureAngry.jpg

The encounter resulted in Barbara being paralyzed from the waist down.

Those of you who are familiar with the story are aware of the additional physical and psychological damage that followed. Afterwards, Barbara is confined to a wheelchair and has to make adjustments to prevent herself from falling into depression. What follows is remarkable.

The real world can be a cruel place at times. Our entire lives can be completely turned upside down by a single event. One stroke of bad luck. One wrong word. A right turn instead of a left at Albuquerque. Often times, these unfortunate occurrences are out of our control. Barbara went from being Batgirl, a crime fighting martial arts master and athletic acrobat that fought alongside the likes of Batman—she even saved his life on occasion—to being handicapped and wheelchair bound, her days of scaling rooftops with the Caped Crusader for the greater good violently taken away from her. Could you even imagine what that must have been like? To go from one extreme to the the other in less time than it takes to open the front door? How can you go on? I'll tell you how. You forget what you can't do and pour all of your energy into discovering what you can still do.

Barbara tapped into her other skill sets. Long before her days as Batgirl, Barbara went to school for graduate training in library science. As Batgirl, she even concealed her identity with a day job as a librarian. She is described as having genius-level intellect and technological ability with computer systems. She also has a photographic memory because photographic memory is awesome. After the events of The Killing Joke, she even continued her martial arts training, learning to use eskrima fighting sticks, a pair of which she keeps stowed inside the arms or her wheelchair. As it's been said, don't let the wheelchair fool you. Barbara's transition from Batgirl to the Oracle is one of the most legendary comebacks in comics, and it didn't stop there.

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Oracle would go on to work with the Suicide Squad—yes, the Suicide Squad that we're getting a movie for next year—and assist Batman in her new role as an intelligence broker before becoming the founding member of her own team of super heroines known as the Birds of Prey. You know, seeing that image reminds me of another team of super heroes led by a different person in a wheelchair... Fancy that.

Anyway, the point I'm making is this:

You don't have to change your entire life when everything you know is thrown for a loop. You only have to change your approach.

I can distinctly remember how I felt after I graduated college. Most of my friends were still in school, yet here I was, out in the real world trying to adjust to life outside of the dorm. I remember missing my friends; I missed the accessibility we use to have. Before, it was a short trip up or down a flight of stairs to get together to play Smash Bros., watch silly YouTube videos, listen to music, or just hang out with my friends and talk with each other. All of a sudden, the process required a lot more coordination.

Everyone didn't have a car and I didn't live close to the college. My work schedule often conflicted with my friends' class and/or work schedules. Getting together was difficult at best. Online gaming was ok but was often limited to who had the same games, same systems, and the online subscriptions to play them. What hangouts we were able to get going were often cut short because we had work/class in the morning. I remember feeling so isolated and distant from everything. Maybe some of you can relate. The moment when you graduate high school and watch your friends scatter to different colleges, or when you graduate from college and begin adjusting to your new life, is a pivotal point for a lot of people, gamers in particular.

So much of our relational growth and satisfaction depends on our ability to interact and connect socially with each other.

It can be incredibly crippling in a way, if you think about it, like a metaphorical Killing Joke that we all go through at some point or another in our lives. Maybe you get laid off from your job, or suffer a serious injury. Maybe your best friend, brother or sister becomes a parent and they don't have as much time to raid with you as they use to. Maybe someone close to you loses their life and everything you know changes. Maybe all of this is happening to you at the same time. Our way of life can undergo drastic and sometimes detrimental changes, but there's a silver lining. Just like Barbara Gordon, we can undergo drastically change our approach to life. Become your Oracle. Tap into your skills. Train harder. Adapt. Thrive. It might not be easy but it can be done. Just always remember what you can still do.

#mcm - Charles Xavier

Perhaps we should have just said "Sir Patrick Stewart" in the title of this one. Nevertheless, the leader of the X-Men is our man crush of the day. Professor X is a man of several admirable qualities. Widely recognized  as the authority on all things mutant in the Marvel universe, Charles Xavier is the Martin Luther King Jr. of the mutant rights movement. Unlike his friend-turned-arch-rival Magneto, Xavier works tirelessly toward a future in which mutants and humans co-exist in peace with a mutual respect admiration for each other. You have to appreciate his efforts, especially when you take human nature in to account.

As humans, we don't have the best track record for dealing with things we don't understand. To paraphrase one of my favorite lines by Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins, you always fear what you don't understand. Fear of the dark. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. A surprising amount of human interactions and reactions are driven by the notion of fear. Fear of the Japanese during and after the events of Pearl Harbor resulted in the irrational internment of many Japanese-American citizens like George Takei. Fear of Muslims after the events of 9/11 cast a proverbial shadow of mistrust and profiling. The same can be said of many other unfortunate events in human history and we even see this occurring in the gaming community. Fear of women in gaming. Fear of the emerging casual games market. The issues persist. In the X-Men universe, the large majority of the human population seems to be fearful of the unknown capabilities and general stance of mutants. Professor X aims to help mutants by recruiting them in his school and providing them with the training and education necessary to help them accept and control their powers for the benefit of all mankind: humans and mutants.

We admire the Professor because he is one of the greatest mentors and advocates for equality and mutual respect in all of comics. When we are treated badly or unfairly, our natural reaction is to retaliate and to get even. The problem is that you can't fight hate with more hate. Soon we find ourselves in a never ending cycle of retaliation and hostility. We get angry when we are not accepted by a certain individual or group and so we, in turn, become unaccepting of others. Can you imagine how different the X-Men series would be if Charles Xavier, after being feared and ostracized by humans himself, decided to use his powers to force people to accept and love him? If anything, he wouldn't be the peaceful man we've come to know. Charles is fully aware of his powers and he isn't without his demons.

A large part of the reason we're crushing on him today is because despite being more than capable to just mind zap just about anyone he chooses to his liking, Charles always makes a dedicated effort to keep his more malicious tendencies in check. He constantly aspires not to allow himself to become that which he hates. We all have those moments when we want to tell people how we really feel and lash out because we feel like they deserve it, (and maybe they do), but that type of response generally does nothing except escalate the situation. If you've ever seen or been a part of an argument in the comment section of a YouTube video then you know what I mean. What if we as gamers could take a page from the Professor's book and use our powers for good? If you'e being bullied, don't become a bully. If you're being abused, don't become an abuser. Don't fight fire with more fire. Aspire to be bigger; to be better than the people who haven't been good to you. You can create something positive from adversity just like Professor X.

Just remember: Don't be afraid.

#wcw - Shield Knight

Happy Earth Day everyone! What a week for Shovelry, am I right? Last Monday we crushed on Shovel Knight. Naturally, today's woman crush belongs to his fellow knight, the courageous Shield Knight. Fair warning for those of you who may be new to the game—it just released on Sony platforms—or those of you who just haven't beaten it yet: There are major spoilers in this post. If you wish to uncover the mystery of Shield Knight first hand, I advise you to turn back now. After you've beaten the game, come back and tell us what you think!

Now then, if I may, in an effort to garner the true essence and significance of our lady of the day, I'd like to present you all with a hypothetical outline of the events of Shovel Knight through the mind of Shield Knight. After all, the story of the game revolves entirely around her. Even though you never get a chance to play as Shield Knight, she is arguably a more interesting and meaningful character than our titular hero, Shovel Knight. If you aren't already, I encourage you to have today's suggested reading music playing in the background. Trust me, it will enhance your experience. Before I take you through the bowels of the unknown, let's begin with what we do know.

The Story As We Know It

The game opens by introducing Shovel Knight and Shield Knight together as the greatest heroes in the land. They are both presented in a very heroic manner and certainly seem to be successful heroes judging by their massive stash of loot. From there, we learn that upon adventuring to the Tower of Fate one, (ahem), FATEFUL DAY, calamity struck after they encountered a cursed amulet.

What happens next is not explained, but during the chaos, Shovel Knight was rendered unconscious. When he wakes, Shield Knight is no where to be found, her battered helmet the only remains of her existence. The Tower of Fate now sealed, Shovel Knight, stricken with grief over the loss of his questing companion, gives up his life of adventuring for one of mourning and solitude.

One day, the seal on the Tower of Fate breaks and the evil Enchantress and her villainous Order of No Quarter appear to bring devastation and destruction to the land. Shovel Knight, motivated by the chance to discover the fate of Shield Knight for himself, steels his shovel and sets out solo for his biggest adventure yet...

Our Interpretation of Shield Knight's Untold Story

Now for the hypotheticals. If there's one thing I love in narrative, it's the idea of everything coming back full circle to the starting point. That's what made the TV sitcom Seinfeld so successful. Each episode tied everything back together to whatever happened in the very beginning. This post will follow that same pattern, beginning with Shovel Knight's iconic campfire scenes.

Early on, we see Shield Knight and Shovel Knight together at a campfire celebrating a successful quest, as pictured above. At the end of each level in the game (save the last one), Shovel Knight can be scene at a campfire, alone, as pictured to the right. It's a much different and solemn scene than the other. There's no loot. No celebration. Only a stoic knight against the starry night sky. These scenes will sometimes introduce a dream sequence in which Shield Knight is falling. The words "- Catch Her -" appear on the screen and the player is tasked to do so. Whether you catch Shield Knight or not, the dream promptly ends and Shovel Knight wakes up the following morning to continue his quest.

It's interesting that the narrative specifically phrases it as "- Catch Her -" for 2 reasons:

1) It's a command. An order if you will. Shovel Knight is a knight; a type of soldier, and soldiers are suppose to carry out their orders. 

2) The words are accompanied by dash marks, which suggest that they are not spoken, but thought. This could be Shovel Knight's subconscious commanding him during his dream, which is a recurring scenario of potential PTSD in which he attempts to save Shield Knight in a way that he could not in the Tower of Fate. Which brings me to what may have happened that fateful day. Consider the following:

After encountering the cursed amulet, it's magic had a terrible effect on Shield Knight. I believe she was the one who, caught off guard and under the effect of the amulet, rendered Shovel Knight unconscious. Let's assume that Shield Knight is able to fight the effects of the amulet to a certain degree before if fully took over and transformed her into the Enchantress. She carries Shovel Knight away from the Tower of Fate, likely makes a campfire for him, all the while internally battling with the amulet's curse. In narrative, a heroic figure who has reached a critical point of no return will often remove their helmet. Darth Vader does this at the end of Return of the Jedi to reveal himself to Luke, knowing full well he will not survive without his helmet. In Star Craft 2, there is a cutscene where Sarah Kerrigan removes her headwear and drops her weapon when she realizes she's been left for dead by Arcturus Mengsk to the Zerg swarm. It would make sense for Shield Knight to remove her helmet in this way as the effect of the curse takes over, but she doesn't give up there. Shield Knight would then journey back to the Tower of Fate, sealing herself within, where she would use the last of her power to fight the curse. When she is no longer able to fight, she succumbs to the amulet's power, becomes the Enchantress, and the seal of the Tower of Fate breaks. Enter Shovel Knight as you know it, until the end.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.02.54 PM.png

After Shovel Knight manages to free Shield Knight from the curse, the two of them defeat the evil spirit that was none too happy about being beaten out of Shield Knight. It is during this fight that we can gleam something from seeing the two knights in action together for the first time. Shield Knight, as her name suggests, is a protector. I even think that she is Shovel Knight's mentor in a way. He (literally) looks up to her and only seems to have the strength and courage to do battle when she is involved in some way. When Shovel Knight's hope was crushed and he believed Shield Knight to be lost forever, he stopped being a hero. She inspires him. She brings out the heroism in him. She may have even taught him how to fight. The player can feel a sense of this in the way that the final fight plays out. You need her to be able to defeat the evil spirit.

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However, after the final blow is struck, the evil goes berserk and Shovel Knight is, again, rendered unconscious and we are presented with a familiar scene to what I described earlier. Only this time, Shield Knight is prepared. She enlists Black Knight to take Shovel Knight to safety as she holds off the assault. Black Knight is opposed to this idea, but Shield Knight makes him promise. It can be debated that as the Enchantress, Shield Knight was able to provide Black Knight with an opportunity to be a hero himself, which would explain why he was there this time and was not there the first time they reached the Tower. In the next scene, the Tower of Fate collapses and it appears that Shield Knight has gone down with it. Black Knight fulfills his promise and takes Shovel Knight to the safety of a campfire. More credits roll, and then we see a wounded Shield Knight, limping towards the campfire, and she lies down next to Shovel Knight. The game brings us back around, full circle. I find that, for the purposes of this post, the following picture best describes that final scene.

We could go deeper with our theory on this narrative (time travel and alternate timelines anyone?) but we think today's point has been made. Behind every great shovel is a very large shield. For me, that's MasterWife. For you, perhaps a relative, a friend, or a significant other. People who we may think need us, but if we're being honest with ourselves, we need them. And who's not to say that every shield needs a shovel? Appreciating and valuing each other is important. That's what guides us when we lose our way; when we make mistakes or forget who we are. The people in our lives that bring out the heroic qualities in us and have our backs no matter what. That's the essence of Shield Knight.

I can't stress just how amazing this game is and I sincerely hope you give it a go and pick it apart yourself to see what kinds of interpretations you get from it. Shovel Knight dug itself onto Sony platforms yesterday, and news has surfaced that Xbox owners will get their chance to Strike the Earth on April 29th! The Sony release features a special boss battle with Kratos of God of War and the Xbox release will feature content from Battletoads. For Shovelry indeed!

Until next time, peace out heart pieces!

[VIDEO] - Our Backer Rewards Are In!

Hey heart pieces! Our Kickstarter backer rewards from came in today! Whoooo!

We're super excited to finally be able to start sending these goodies to you all. We decided to make another unboxing video to share some of that excitement with you lovely folks so we hope you enjoy it! MasterWife even broke away from her science to make an appearance! If you think MasterJoe is goofy on camera, just wait until you see his cuter half in action.

*UPDATE

Our stickers just came in today! Huzzah! We're going to get start on packing everything up and send these beautiful rewards out to you all. When you get them, let us know! Take a picture and post it to Twitter to @HPpodcast with the hashtag #HPswag and we'll tell you how rad you are :)

#mcm - Shovel Knight

The most noble of shovel-wielding knights is our man crush of the day. It's been quiet some time since a video game character of such chivalrous caliber has graced the indie-turned-mainstream gaming scene. If you haven't played the game, you're really missing out on something special. Shovel Knight harkens back to a simpler, more pixelated time in gaming that brought us classics like Mega Man, Castlevania, and Duck Tales the game. Born from a successful Kickstarter campaign (like us), the game first launched as a Nintendo exclusive on Wii U and 3DS. It has since been released on Steam and in a few days, it will be coming to all Sony platforms! Everyone who's been manning their respective play stations will have a chance to dig in. Sorry. You just can't write about Shovel Knight without shovel puns.

As much as we love the game, we've selected Shovel Knight as our man crush for a very special reason. As I'm sure you're garnered by now, we are always on the lookout for what real life lessons these fictional characters can teach us about bettering ourselves. Shovel Knight is about a guy who comes out of a long, sad hiatus from adventuring in order to save a dear friend of his against all odds. Or rather, against all Quarters. Throughout his quest, we picked up on one thing that stands out above everything else to us; something that we found to be undeniably relevant to today's day and age. Ladies and gentle knights, I give you...

Art by oddpenguin

Art by oddpenguin

Let us preface this by saying that 1) there are some spoilers in here and 2) this should not be taken as an excuse to pogo jump on people's heads with a shovel. That will likely land you in prison. Don't do it. What we aim to do here is take an in-depth (omg that one wasn't even intentional) look at how Shovel Knight interacts with several of the main and side bosses in the game. After all, he seems to have some kind of history with nearly every member of the Order of No Quarter and he has more than his fair share of unwarranted confrontations with strangers, including one eccentric hat shop owner/collector. In real life, we also encounter, *ahem, interesting people from time to time who attempt to cause us trouble for one reason or another. However, Shovel Knight, being the honorable knight that he is, always manages to treat his hecklers with fairness and respect, and that's why he's our man crush this week. Here are 3 tips we learned by playing Shovel Knight on how to be a better knight. And by knight, we mean gamer.

1. Raise Your Noble Shovel Higher

If it were up to him, there are several fights in this game that Shovel would not have fought. The most notable of these include his bouts with the Black Knight, Reize, Baz and Polar Knight. Black Knight stands out over the others for being the most intentionally hostile aggressor. In his encounters he mocks Shovel Knight, taunts him with talk of the Enchantress, belittles his quest and attempts to demoralize him from continuing at every turn. Shovel Knight remains focused on his task and largely immune Black Knight's jeers. After their last battle, Black Knight finally breaks and we learn that he and Shovel Knight shared the same goal, but had different methods.

Black Knight wanted to be the hero by any means necessary and didn't see Shovel Knight as being fit for the job, so he lashed out at him. Afterwards, Black Knight would become something of an ally to Shovel Knight. This is the outcome that we like to see in the real world. Sometimes it takes some work to uncover the truth; to get to the real reason behind someone's facade of hate and cruelty. Those of you who are familiar with Dragon Ball Z will recognize this same pattern with Goku and Vegeta. Here's a god-tier real world example from earlier this year. If only we all could demonstrate to that level of uncompromising endurance, we could make a real difference.

2. Remember Who The Enemy Isn't

Shovel Knight's battle with the young boomerang warrior, Reize, is an interesting one. Reize stumbles upon our hero and immediately mistakes him as "The knight with the shovel who's been... MENACING THE VILLAGE!" (You'll just have to imagine that all caps text wiggling). Shovel Knight tries to explain that he's done no such menacing but Reize won't listen and the battle ensues. This fight is pretty challenging in it's own right, so we have to give Reize some credit here for putting Shovel Knight through the ringer in the name of justice, misguided as he was. After Shovel Knight defeats Reize he finally gets a chance to speak his peace, communicating that he's not a threat and that he and Reize are fighting a common enemy. Keyword: common.

To the Dictionary! Good old dictionary.com defines the word "common" as:

  1. belonging equally to, or shared alike by, two or more or all in question:
    common property, common interests.
  2. pertaining or belonging equally to an entire community, nation, orculture; public:
    a common language or history; a common water-supply system.
  3.  joint; united:
    a common defense.

Gaming is something that we, as gamers, share in common with each other. Gaming belongs to all of us and we are united by our common love of gaming. If you have twitter, you may have seen the hashtag #GamersUnite. It was started by a friend of a friend of ours who goes by the handle, @RETR0JOE, for the self-explanatory purpose of uniting gamers on social media (go figure!). For all the common ground we share, we sure do bicker a lot. While our tastes in gaming may not always line up, our general enjoyment of games will, so we must do a better job remembering that just because someone games differently than us or not as much as us or what have you, that does not make them our enemy. Take Black Knight and Shovel Knight for example. They had the same goal, remember? Once they realized what they had in common, they opened the door to achieve more than they could by themselves. That's when knights are strongest. And remember, by knights, we mean gamers.

3. Lose The Game, Not Yourself.

Honorable mention to Polar Knight as we won't be covering his bout with our titular hero in today's post. It should be noted, however, that Polar Knight is the only member of the Order of No Quarter to have explicitly had history with Shovel Knight as a fellow honorable knight on the right side of the code. Having since fallen from grace and under the command of the Enchantress, that fight is particularly meaningful. Perhaps we'll get to it another time.

We'll leave you with this final thought. Gaming and nerd culture in general have the potential to evoke levels of passion and emotion that you would be hard pressed to find in other communities or forms of media. When it's done right, we get things like marathons for Extra Life and Child's Play, genuine new friendships, inspiration stories of courage and good will, and incredible memories at conventions and events. When it's done wrong, well, I'm sure you can think of something. Baz is a good example of how to do things the wrong way. When we encounter Baz, he is visibly upset about not being excepted into the Order of No Quarter despite having purchased the best gear money could buy. Sound familiar? It might if you're into competitive gaming at all. Despite the fancy new controller you bought, the hours you put in practicing your combos, all the money you spent on travel... You see what I mean. Sometimes, it's still not enough to win the tournament or even the match. One of the developers of the indie game Titan Souls once said (I'm paraphrasing here) that gaming is about failure, and through those failures, we are taught not only to win, but the value of winning. Some might even say that the lessons we learned from failure are greater than what we learn from winning. Winning feels good. Failure gives you the chance to grow. So the next time you lose a match and feel the rage coming out, I want you to visualize this image. Burn it deep into your mind's eye and take it with you whenever you are in a competitive situation:

If you haven't had the chance to play Shovel Knight yet, it's coming to PS4, PS3, and PS Vita tomorrow, April 21st, and will feature a boss fight with Kratos!