Soda Can Therapy

My sister, Alya, is one of the most beautiful persons I know. When I was younger, I seriously thought she was so gorgeous, she could be an actress if she wanted.

To this day, I’ll look at her, and it’ll blow my mind how pretty she is. Like, I know looks aren’t everything, but hot damn, my sister is breathtaking!

She has thick, wavy hair with a natural color of burnished gold. Her eyes can switch from a sea blue to a pale green to a steely grey depending on what angle you’re looking at her from (and on what color shirt she’s wearing). She exercises a lot, so she also has a fit physique, complete with trim calves and defined forearms.

Her personality is magnetizing, too.

She’s sprightly and vivacious. She boasts often because she seems to have a wellspring of confidence within her that never runs dry, but it’s always meant in good fun. One of the first dates she went on with her future husband is now a hilarious story, because she insisted she could play tennis extremely well, and when that wasn’t the case, good-natured humor ensued. Her attitude and active mind boost her good looks to the millionth degree.

But it wasn’t always this way.

My sister went through a bit of a “blossoming” phase when she was in high school. That’s when she became the person she is today.

In middle school, she was bullied terribly.

To this day, I don’t know why she was bullied. She was thin, wore glasses, and sported an unfortunate haircut, true. But she was genuinely a great kid. Smart, good-humored. But she was missing the self-confidence which she has now, and I guess that made her a target.

I’m sorry to say I wasn’t aware of her troubles then. I was making the transition to middle school as well, so I was more or less absorbed with what was going on with me. As far as I was concerned, Alya was just my knowledgeable big sister who I hung out with after school.

Alya later told me that she purposefully hid her trials from me. She didn’t want me to know that she was getting bullied. But she did admit there were times she cried before going to bed, dreading school the next day. She developed a habit of grinding her teeth in her sleep, as if she were clenching her entire body before having to dive back into the toxic atmosphere waiting for her.

There was only one time when Alya actually broke down about a situation going on at school. She and I were hanging out with our childhood friend, Mia. The three of us were each other’s closest friends, and nothing was more enjoyable than just kicking back at Mia’s grandparents house, giggling about books we had read and planning our next adventure pretending we were on Middle-Earth.

That day, we were just chugging a bunch of those mini root beers and having a burping contest.

Side note: Yes, we would have burping contests. No, we were not ashamed.

After the contest, Alya told Mia and I about this boy who had bothered her at school. I can’t for the life of me remember what the boy did. All I know was that it upset Alya almost to the point of tears. Not tears of sadness, but tears of frustration and anger.

For a while now, I had been eyeing this sledgehammer that Mia’s grandparents kept in a toolshed, and at that point I had the perfect idea. I suggested we all let off a little steam by using that sledgehammer to pound away our problems. The plentiful amount of root beer cans around us could serve as symbolic stand-ins for the objects of our ire.

Alya, Mia, and I then solemnly proceeded to heft the sledgehammer over our shoulders and then slam it down upon those teeny cans, crushing them flat. It’s a testament to how much soda we guzzled that we were able to do this more than a few times. We decided to give Alya the majority of cans to smash, but there was still enough to go around.

These days, I kind of question whether or not that was healthy for us to do. I mean, we were not shy about naming the situations or people that we were venting our pent-up rage against. Those cans were getting destroyed.

But we felt better afterwards. And that’s all there really is to it.

This soda can therapy in no way fixed Alya’s bullying problem. I can only hope that at least for that afternoon, this one moment helped her feel an ounce more in control of her situation.

Side note: I won the burping contest, I’m 90% sure. Mia and I were always the big contenders in these things. For the life of her, when Alya was young, she just could not burp. She would try, but nothing would come out.

Playing Single-Player Campaigns with Another Person

I once wrote a post extolling the virtues of couch co-op games. In it, I made a big deal about being able to sit down with friends and play video games (and some other sob-story stuff). I still believe playing co-op games is one of the better parts of gaming.

But over the years, I’ve realized there is something I like more than good old-fashioned splitscreen fun.

There is seriously nothing better than playing a single-player campaign with a buddy.

Just hear me out.

Since a single-player experience is meant to be played by one person, a stronger emphasis on narrative is given to these campaigns. Player choice and immersion are focal points.

If you’ve never played one, imagine an interactive movie that could last you for days.

And sure, I’ve watched my fair share of movies alone, but I draw extra enjoyment from watching a movie with a friend and having the same or a different reaction. It’s one of the things I live for.

Looking back on my gaming experiences then, the ones I love the most are the ones where a friend and I went through the highs and lows of a single-player campaign together.

My friend Bubba is the number one person I do campaigns with. We have such good memories of playing video games together, even if one of us was mostly a passive observer during the whole thing.

We played Alien: Isolation, a survival horror game, all the way through by passing off the controller every ten minutes. That time limit wasn’t arbitrary. Ten minutes was about as long as we could stand the stress of having to creep around a space station with a Xenomorph stalking us. The game was so stressful, we practically threw the controller at the other person when our turn was up, even if a Xenomorph was charging us at the time.

We played Life Is Strange, an episodic, dialogue-driven adventure, together. At first, we laughed at the downright dumb that seemed to permeate character decisions and reactions. But after a while, we got sucked into the high school drama. We even have personal catchphrases we use that come from this game. We’re terrible trash people.

We played the latest Prey game together. We both really like sci-fi, so this survival adventure game on an abandoned space station infested with a new alien life form was perfect for us genre-wise. Plus, we both had different styles of playing, and they both worked. I was the sneaky sneakerton that would whack enemies from behind with a wrench or a silenced pistol shot, and Bubba was the all-sprint-all-the-time kind of player who favored the shotgun and psychic blasts.

I watched Bubba play through Celeste, an indie platformer that is all about fighting your way through your own insecurities while remaining true to yourself. I’m not terribly skilled at platforming, but Bubba was a mad genius. He died almost 1000 times (not joking), but he persevered all the way to the end.

Bubba watched me play Mass Effect: Andromeda, a sci-fi RPG, and laughed at me the entire time. He called me obsessed because I kept trying to spark relationships with any turian I could find. And we both laughed at the insane amount of glitches we ran into.

I don’t think I’m alone in the gaming community in liking the feel-good feeling of a single-player campaign experienced alongside a friend. (I mean, that’s probably why Let’s Plays exist in the first place. Let’s Players are like substitute friends who play games for you.)

There’s just something to be said for playing a game in a way that, perhaps, it wasn’t exactly meant to be played.

Only Cool Kids Edit

I know a lot of writers.

Scratch that. I know a lot of people who call themselves writers.

And one thing I’ve noticed that really burns my bum is the fact that they don’t edit their work.

They think that as soon as they’ve committed a word to a page, it’s golden and perfect.


Just no.

Anyone who loves to write with a true passion knows that writing is mutable. Your words, your phrasing, can and will change. They have to.

Writing is half creation, half revision.

I’ll admit, I’m kind of talking out of my own ass here. I’m only a semi-published freelance writer who knows less than Jon Snow, but I’m also talking from the perspective of a proofreader. I have proofread and edited more written works than I’ve got years on my life. Hell, even this blog here gets proofread more than it deserves.

So I hate it when someone writes a piece and then takes pride in how little they had to edit it. I want to grab them, shake them, and scream in their faces, “That’s not a badge of honor! That’s a warning sign!”

Even more than writing words, editing those words is the most important part of the writing process. I say/write that with the assumption that you are writing things for someone else to read. You edit your words for your readers. You should always think to yourself, ‘What sounds better when I say it out loud? Does this make any sense? Is any of this intelligible? Could this be better?’

My favorite kinds of writers are those who question themselves constantly. Any person who writes something, frowns in dismay after reading it, and whose first impulse is to throw it in the trash, is a friend of mine.

It’s not just a quality I admire in writers. It’s a quality I admire in people. The desire to constantly improve is praiseworthy. (Plus, self-deprecating humor is the best.)

So to any aspiring writers who are reading this, always try to edit your work. Actively search for aspects to improve. Writing is a climb, and you always want to be moving upwards.

Editing can be as basic as just re-reading things you’ve already written. I’ve proofread so many academic essays where I know in my gut the kids just typed it, printed it, and then submitted it. You’d be surprised how much a simple read-through could help your writing.

For me, editing takes multiple stages, but each stage can be boiled down to two types of editing: big and small.

Big editing is looking to change the meaning and structure of an entire piece. For instance, if I was writing a novel, a big edit would be adjusting some plot points or moving around chapters to better suit the flow.

Small editing brings my focus down to individual sentences. Could something be phrased better? Is a word sticking in my craw whenever I read the sentence out loud? I think about the minutiae when I do my small editing.

I do my editing best when it is on paper in front of me. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of editing on a computer screen, which is a shame because that’s definitely the norm nowadays. Reading my words out loud always helps too.

Editing is not fun. No one in the history of ever has said that editing is fun. But it is necessary, and there is nothing like the feeling of finishing up some much-needed proofing.

Of course, if you’re doing it right, you always kind of feel like just a little more should be done. So if you think about it, you never feel as if you’re finished.

Hey, no one ever said writing was easy either.

Wince-Inducing Literature: Dealing with Dated Perspectives in Older Books

I love reading books that were written way before my time. People constantly describe books as portals to other worlds (bet you’ve heard that a million times), and I have found that the best books for experiencing that sensation are older books grounded in real history, without any fantastical trappings. You get a glimpse of how people who have died years ago used to speak, used to act. You can make comparisons, draw sharp contrasts.

Fantasy and science fiction books are great, too. I’m not saying they suck eggs or anything like that. (Sci-fi is my jam!) Finely crafted fictional worlds are engrossing. But it’s difficult to beat a story that is grounded in a distant reality and that seems simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar in its themes.

I mean, come on, who hasn’t read Pride & Prejudice and snorted over what used to pass for flirting back then?

Books like Anna Karenina or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man give you so much insight into people, what’s remained constant and what’s changed. I never really get “lost” in those kinds of books; I get found.

Side note: I swear, that’s as corny as I’ll get in this post.

Unfortunately, there can be passages in these books that slap you in the face and remind you that the past wasn’t always pretty and idyllic. These moments can shatter your immersion and take you out of that blissful self-actualization session you were just having.

About a month ago, I was reading a collection of pieces by the author Washington Irving. You might know him as the guy who gave us the stories of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

I first discovered him in middle school. And damn, let me tell you, son, he used descriptive language like Leonardo Da Vinci used a paint brush. I could sink into his paragraphs describing the natural beauty of a moonlit night in post-colonial America. I love dialogue and action and all that jazz, but Irving ensnared me with his flourishing descriptions. I never thought I would drool over how dusk is described.

Anyway, I was reading some of Irving’s work (I had bought a collection of his essays and short stories), when I came upon an essay that described the condition of Native Americans in those times. I hadn’t even finished the first paragraph of this essay before I had to stop reading and go splash my face with the cold water of repugnance.

At the time of Irving’s writing, Native Americans were being forcibly ejected from their homelands by encroaching settlers. Irving was intensely sympathetic to their plight, but his sympathy was tinged with this casual disdain. His attitude was a total case of “don’t be mean to them for they are just poor, ignorant savages.” He even freakin’ used the word “savages” more than once.


I felt guilty simply for having purchased Irving’s book. No stunning descriptive language could save the esteem I used to hold Irving in.

Older books (and some current ones too, now that I think about it) can make you wince in abhorrence over how out-of-touch and dismissively cruel they can be. Like children raised by bigots, they are wretched products of their time.

Take Gone with the Wind, for instance.

It’s pretty well-written in terms of prose, but its views on slavery are cringe-inducing, face-palm-producing, and enraging all at the same time. But at least with an infamous work like that, you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into. I mean, with a protagonist born and raised in the South, Margaret Mitchell was hardly going to make slavery appear to be as horrendous as it actually was.

It can be hard to continue reading something that shocks your values in such a way. I know it was for me after I finally finished Irving’s disquieting essay. You feel sullied for just having read the thing, and you may begin to worry that all your favorite authors have a close-minded skeleton in their closet as well.

What’s important to remember is that what you read and what you learn from what you read are two different things. No matter what form literature takes, it is all about perspective and understanding. Books are bridges that help us make connections. Sometimes that connection is to the author and his/her point of view. Other times, it is a connection to free-thinking and a difference in opinion. (Does that make sense?)

Irving was a different person from me, who lived in a different time and at a different place. Despite the fact that I can hold his words in my hands, we are still worlds apart. So while he can teach me a thing or two about how to use descriptive language, he can also teach me what not to do when it comes to perceiving and approaching other human beings.

So to ye who would read ye olde books, be mindful of what you’re getting yourself into.

Side note: Did you know that “ye” is both a plural form of “thou” and an antiquated version of “the?”

A Nod to Creepiness

There is only one person in the world who can properly buy a book for me, and that is my friend Mia Sara Moreno.

(Sorry, Boyfriend and Sister, but you know it to be true.)

I know, technically, anyone can buy me a book.

But I’m talking about someone who can browse a book store and find a book that they think I will like.

It’s one thing for someone to know you’ve been wanting a specific book for a while so they go out and get it for you; it’s another thing entirely for someone to choose a book for you.

You get what I’m saying here? (Book lovers, come on, you know what I’m talking about, right?)

Mia and I know each other intimately when it comes to literature. We know our favorite authors, genres, and styles. For Mia’s birthday this year, I bought her Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. For my birthday this year, she bought me Nod by Adrian Barnes.

She knew what she was doing when she bought me this book.

Mia knows I love nearly everything Stephen King, and Nod is a definite dalliance with King-ness.

Anyone who reads Nod will fall in love with it if they’re a King enthusiast simply based on the subject matter alone. The entire world, except for a select few individuals, loses the ability to go to sleep. Have you ever heard that factoid about people being able to go 21 days without food, 7 days without water, but only 3 days without sleep before seriously adverse effects begin to show their ugly face? Nod tells a horror story about what would happen to those world if those three days were not met.

Nod will tickle your intellectual side too. Its pages contain more than just sentences; you’re reading poetic prose. (Does that make sense?) When I understood a particularly nuanced metaphor that Barnes used, I felt like I passed some random intelligentsia test. It irritated as well as pleased me, but I enjoyed the reading experience regardless.

Isn’t it funny how often those two emotions coincide?

But don’t think that Nod is just intellectualism run rampant. It is downright creepy. The denizens of Earth lose their minds over lack of sleep, and it sucks for those sane Sleepers left with their minds intact. The Awakened are filled with resentment for the people who can still catch a few Z’s, so they actually hunt them down and slaughter them. (Or they torture them to keep them awake 24/7.)

Plus, Nod shoves in your face how little you can really know a person, which is something that plagues me even when more than half the world isn’t losing their goddamn minds. Have you never wondered whether your girlfriend is secretly disgusted by you? Have you ever been secretly disgusted with her?

There isn’t much to spoil about Nod aside from a few key moments that occur before the ending, which I’ll let you discover for yourself if you want to. The book slumps toward its finale like a relentless zombie. No one is there to save the day or to explain why this freak experience is happening. Society just slowly devolves, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. The end.

But it makes for one hell of a nighttime read.


A Buttload of Cats

Any avid reader will tell you that there is no shame in reading books that are technically below your age level. A good story is a good story regardless of how simply it is told.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m not embarrassed to admit that I still re-read the Warriors series to this day.

What is the Warriors series, you might ask.

I’d like to tell you that it’s a young adult series about epic soldiers who fight glorious battles in space, you know, something that would make me sound like I have really good taste in children’s literature.

But it’s actually about cats.

Warriors collection
via: (GreenFeline777)

The Warriors series is written by Erin Hunter, and it’s about a large group of cats that live in the forest. These stray cats have separated themselves into four Clans, and each Clan lives by a set of noble rules called the Warrior Code. Each Clan also has their own territory which they guard against other Clans or even rogue cats, dogs, or badgers. The series follows the life of a young house cat named Firepaw who joins ThunderClan and learns the ways of the forest.

This might sound terribly lame, but I can’t help getting engrossed in the action-packed lives of these cats.

I was first introduced to the series by my friend Mia. My sister, Mia, and I were hanging out in the local high school’s gym because her father was there coaching the girls’ basketball team. We were slightly bored, and since all three of us were the reading types, we had brought books to entertain ourselves with. Mia showed me the cover of hers, which showed snarling cats clawing at each other, and I immediately knew this would be the kind of story I could love.

And I was not wrong.

The Warriors series is an epic saga of small proportions. If you’ve ever read anything by Brian Jacques, like Redwall or Marlfox, you will have a clearer understanding about what I’m talking about. Seeing a story from an animal’s perspective but coupled with human emotions makes for a powerful experience. Plus, the kinds of verbs you can use when describing an animal’s actions are diverse and interesting. Why “speak” when you can “mew,” “yowl,” or “hiss?”

However, unlike Jacques’ work, the Warriors series is more clearly geared toward kids. The books are less dense as a result. But that doesn’t stop them from covering harrowing experiences. Vicious wounds are inflicted on the cats by dogs, rats, badgers, snakes, and other cats, and no details are spared.

It’s awesome.

Mia and I once made a list of all the cats who ever died in the series, and the list is quite hefty. I doubt a Warriors book has gone by where a cat does not perish.

It touches upon morality as well, presenting children with ideas like responsibility for others’ safety, loyalty to family and friends, and commitment to your duty above all else.

Pretty heavy stuff for a book about cats, am I right?

The books themselves are a short read, so if you want to give one of them a try, it shouldn’t take you long.

Be warned though! These books can suck you in, and there are quite a few books in the series now. If you pick up one at the book store, the next thing you know, you’ll be spending all your money completing the series.

For those of you who have read the series (I wonder how many of you there are), my favorite character is Leafpool, my favorite Clan is RiverClan, and I think Tigerclaw was one of the greatest villains of all time.

Being a Floor Person

A perfectly acceptable chair could be available, but you can usually find me on the floor right next to it.

I’m a Floor Person.

There are many of my kind around the world, I’m sure.

Chairs are confining to us. Floors, most especially carpeted ones, are our thrones.

All of my close friends are aware that I’m a Floor Person. (And now, so does whoever reads this post.) Mia, one of my closest friends, often invites me over to her house for a relaxing morning of coffee and old Star Trek episodes. Whenever I go over, my preferred spot is the rug right in front of the television screen. I’ll squat there with my mug of steaming coffee (as sweet as sin and as white as most of our gosh-darned politicians) in my hands. The one time I chose to stretch out on her couch, Mia stared at me as if she thought I was dying.

Even now as I type, I’m sitting on the floor. My desktop computer rests on a low-lying coffee table that stands no higher than my knee.

I don’t know, maybe I never grew out of hanging out on the floor when I was a kid. Maybe that’s why I’m a Floor Person.

All I know is that it is my preferred area of relaxation.

The downsides of being a Floor Person, as any Floor Person will tell you, are the ashy knees and elbows you acquire over time. Years of being on my knees (that’s what she said) and my elbows have made lotion a necessity.

I could give two fiddlesticks if someone looks down on me for being a Floor Person. (Which is convenient, because I don’t own any fiddlesticks.)

But of course, I’m not an impolite bastard. If I’m your guest and I don’t know you too well, I’m not going to just sprawl all over your newly-bought rug.

I’ll ask if it’s okay first.

There are total upsides to joining the Floor People. Adjusting your posture is infinitely easier when you aren’t constrained by the confines of a chair. You never really need a desk since the floor is both your desk and your chair. Plus, buying furniture in the future will be less expensive if you forego purchasing chairs.

All you have to do is invest in a nice, comfy rug.

Here’s to you, my Floor People!


A Saga To Recommend

It is a stereotypical scene, where a kid who is supposed to be reading a thick novel for class has a comic book hidden within its pages and is actually flipping through that.

I always kind of hated that caricature.

It makes it seem like reading the comic book doesn’t count as real reading. It’s as if whoever came up with that thinks that the stories you can glean from the pages of a comic book are not as meaningful as what you would find in a great literary work.

If you’ve read my stuff before (goddammit, Hurych, just say blog posts already), you know that I love to read books. In fact, I love reading of all sorts.

But I have to admit, comics hold a special place in my heart.

Right now, I’m particularly in love with the comic book series Saga. It is currently still being printed, and it is awesome as fuck! (Pardon my French.)

It is written by Brian K. Vaughan (a fantastic writer) and drawn by Fiona Staples. It tells the story (the saga, if you will) of two soldiers who come from warring planets. These soldiers fall in love with each other and start a family, but they have to be on the run constantly because there are people out in the universe who don’t want it to be known that such a relationship can exist.

I’m doing a piss-poor job of summarizing the plot as I know it, but I seriously don’t want to give too much away just in case someone reads this and decides to check Saga out. It’s that good.

The story of Saga is nothing we haven’t seen before. In fact, I’d say it’s a bit of a classic tale. But that’s not what sets it apart. The setting and the characters are so delightful and diverse; they’re the real draw of the series. There’s a man who can use magic to deal deathly damage to people, but refuses to do so because he believes in nonviolence. There’s a large pet cat that can tell when people lie. There’s the disembodied ghost of a teenage girl who connects her soul to that of a newborn baby.

My favorite character is a bipedal baby seal named Ghüs. He has a pet walrus named Friendo. What more do I need to say about him?

Saga poster with Ghus and Friendo

I have seriously gone out of my way to own every item of Ghüs memorabilia that I can find. (Danny has lovingly gifted me some of them. Most of them, actually.) The sight of him makes me squeal; he is just too damn cute.

Ghus plushie

But Ghüs is more than an adorable face. He has a down-to-earth personality, and he always tries to do right by his friends, even if it means putting his own life in danger. He’s a tough little guy. He’s not afraid of going up against characters who are way bigger than him, including dangerous Freelancers.

I cannot recommend Saga highly enough. Saga is the kind of comic book that transcends the concept of a comic book. It exceeds expectations without becoming snotty. It’s engaging, endearing, and exciting.

If you feel like you can’t approach comic books without having to read a million issues of back history before understanding characters, don’t worry about that with Saga. It is its own self-contained story.

And it is by far the best thing I am reading right now.

Sit Back, Relax, and PLAY A VIDEO GAME

My father once asked me what I liked about video games. I guess he was wondering what his normally bookish and mild-mannered daughter found appealing about peppering aliens with bullets. At the time, I was playing said video game (you guessed it; it was Halo), so my response was pretty brief.

“It’s fun,” I replied, while hopping around with a Plasma Pistol and avoiding a large Wraith (essentially an alien tank).

Base line, yeah, video games are fun. They’re some of the most diverting pieces of entertainment out there. I’ve never laughed so hard as when I was playing a video game with some friends and we were messing up horribly, like when I played Overcooked with my friend Nick and we set the entire kitchen on fire.

Overcooked Screenshot

But, for me at least, video games can serve a whole other purpose aside from merely being “fun.”

People might say escapism is a bad thing, but I do not think that is always the case. Prolonged escapism is a bad thing, but little jaunts into another world can be downright therapeutic.

They can give you sparks of insight into your own life. Playing Gone Home made me realize how much I fear an empty house. Playing Dishonored multiple times made me realize that, despite receiving no judgment from anyone regarding foul misdeeds and little reward for being a “good” person, I still strive to do the right thing. Playing Mass Effect 2 made me realize that I am extremely ill-suited for trying to seduce a co-worker’s daughter in a crowded bar.

They can alter your perspective for the better. I learned so much about the potential failings of Ayn Rand’s dream society by playing Bioshock. I learned how meaningless choices derive meaning simply from the fact that they were made from Prey. I learned never to mess with anything remotely close to energy from Hell from Doom. 

They can give you a breather from the stresses of life. I’ve gotten royally steamed at the world sometimes. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times a bout of Halo has helped me cool off.

But my favorite reason for liking video games is that they’re the ultimate form of story-telling.

As previous readers of this thing (still find it difficult to say blog) should know by now, I’m an avid reader and writer of fiction. I adore stories in their myriad shapes and forms. Movies, novels, and comic books all tell stories in their own unique ways, and I appreciate each of them.

But none of them can hold me the way a video game can.


A video game is an interactive story.

A lot of my favorite video games, in addition to providing me with engaging gameplay, tell imaginative stories, and I get to take part in them.

Every time I make a little dude jump from platform to platform, turn a corner in a first-person game, or decide how to upgrade my RPG protagonist, I am influencing the story, even if the influence is only slight. Video game stories are scripted, no matter how much they might try to mask it, but there is a deep level of connection to a video game’s story that occurs because you as the player are actively taking a part in it.

While playing Joel from The Last of Us, his grief at losing his daughter was that much more tangible to me as a player because I was there moving him along as he carried her in his arms, the two of them trying to escape the zombie-infested town. When Cortana sacrifices her life for the Master Chief at the end of Halo 4, I could feel it as keenly as the Chief, because she was helping me out during the game as much as she was helping out the Chief.

I’m not at a point yet where I can call a video game “art.” (Though Journey and Abzu have come really close to making me say that.) But I am not hesitant to say that video games can tell the best of stories. To anyone who loves to read a good book or watch a great movie, I beg you, give a video game a try.

Note: Make sure you pick one out that has narrative leanings. Games like Super Meat Boy, while fun as fuck, don’t go out of their way to give you fiction feels.

Also, I should mention that being so heavily invested and a part of a story can occasionally be an…extreme experience. Like when you’re playing the horror game Outlast and that crazy Doctor is chasing you through the halls of Mount Massive Asylum like a maniac after having sliced your fingers off and you have to run into vents and slide under beds and all that stuff in order to get away from him. That’s not really a convenient time to sympathize with your character because he’s feeling kind of terrified.

So go enjoy a nice, relaxing video game, huh? 🙂