Totally 80s: Dot matrix printer paper

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #47 from 50 Things only ’80s Kids Can Understand

The stress of pulling the edges off your dot matrix printer paper.

The sights, the sounds...

The sights, the sounds…yes, the paper, it actually makes a sound. Can’t you hear it? *scritch…scriiiiiiiitch…scritch scritch…scriiiiiiitch*

The sound of a dot matrix printer printing has got to be up there with dial-up modems in term of memory-based sounds. I mean, for several years, outside of the television and the various sounds it emanated, our dot matrix printer was the nosiest damn thing in our house! And that was from me just using it to print out school papers!

But oh, that dot matrix printer.

This is a nicer (and probably newer) printer than the beast that graced our home.

This is a nicer (and newer, relatively) printer than the beast that graced our home.

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Merry Listmas 2014!

cary:

Can you believe it’s that time again — Listmas! That wonderful time of year when bloggers everywhere gather round the digital fire to take a break from heavy-duty writing and regale the world with lists, lists, and MOAR LISTS! United We Game, with support from Mr. Murf of Murf Versus, will be hosting the event, so click the link below for all the details. Now…get to writing those lists! And be sure to tag the titles #Listmas2014!

Originally posted on United We Game:

Image by Flickr user: commorancy (cc)

Merry Listmas everyone! That’s right the most list-tacular blogging holiday is back this year, and it all starts today!

Just like last year, this Listmas season United We Game and Murf Versus are challenging our fellow bloggers to put together lists of any and every sort! Your favorite games, least favorite foods, the top 5 dog breeds that resemble other animals (if you so desire)! From now until the 31st, list to your hearts content and tag it with #Listmas2014 in the title! We’ll be looking for those lists to add to our master Listmas List, which will link back to everyone else’s lists and will be updated at least weekly depending on how many lists we find (up to 5 per blog).

December 31st will be Relistmas Day! On that most list-tastic of days, the full and final Listmas List will…

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Goddammit Bayonetta! You’ve made me re-title this post a dozen times! I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry.

When I finish a game, any game, I usually have to digest it for awhile. I have to let the experience percolate in my brain with the big question “did I like that enough to play it again?” roiling around in the brew. Sometimes it all settles immediately. Other times, it’s takes a day or two before I’m ready to move onto something else.

This did not happen with Bayonetta. In fact, if it hadn’t been so late then, I might have completed another entire playthrough of the game after I beat it for the first time this past weekend. When I finished Bayonetta (for the Wii U), not only did I start a brand new save file, but I continued on with the game as well. It had to be a historical first.

bayonetta

It’s like she can see into my SOUL.

Oh, I know I’m prone to exaggeration every now and again, but seriously, I cannot think of when the last time this might have ever happened with a game. Because Bayonetta, well…it’s just that good.

**Minor game details ahead, but no severe spoilers**

But I’m not here to rave about Bayonetta or go on about how I haven’t been able to get the game out of my head for days. No, this post is an apology of sorts, for now is the time to eat crow. Or dirt. Or my hat. Or whatever else you’d prefer as I willingly admit to an egregious wrongdoing concerning Bayonetta. Ahem.

"Eat crow"...it's a phrase, not an invitation.

“Eat crow”…it’s a phrase, not an invitation.

I spoke quite ill of the game when it was first released. Yes. Quite. Ill.

You see, we rented Bayonetta when it was first released in 2010. I was summarily unexcited, possibly due to harboring old memories of Devil May Cry (2001) many years ago. Plainly put, I did not like that game. But I’ll also admit that I didn’t give Devil May Cry its due. Being the terrible gamer that I am, I unceremoniously shoved it aside after only a couple playthroughs, this despite repeated admonitions of “you gotta warm up to it first!” I didn’t care for the gameplay or the story and quickly devised that hack and slash games were not for me.

Did I mention that Bayonetta was often compared to Devil May Cry when it first came out? You probably knew that already. If you didn’t, now you do. They are quite similar stylistically and combat-wise. Perhaps I should have said that first, but I’m in the mood for writing small, undeveloped paragraphs at the moment.

Also, her standing still stance was completely inhuman.

Her inhuman stance was all sorts of off-putting. You can’t look like your both needing to pee and ready to jack someone off with your boobs.

Bayonetta is shortish game with the main story coming in around half a day’s work. When we got the game, I watched a good portion of it being played, enough for me to pass judgment. The following statements are those that I probably thought or uttered during this time. Probably. With poetic license.

[Upon the first reveal of Bayonetta] “What’s with her clothes ripping off and all the girly moaning? UGH.”

[Upon viewing the frenetic gameplay] ” TOO MUCH! Also those torture moves? You’ve just got to…with the thing and the thing…I mean, C’MON!”

[Upon listening into any number of Bayonetta’s conversations] “Bitches be CRAZY! But seriously, she’s kinda bitchy.”

[Upon the introduction of Cerveza] “Holy hell, now a child?! (Actually, Bayonetta and I kinda agreed upon this one.)

[Upon the lamenting Luka] “Godammit, a conflicted tease? Hope she punches him in the right in his ugly ass ponytail.”

Your face. My fist. That's all I'm sayin'.

Your face. My fist. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Yes, I was peculiarly sour when it came to Bayonetta and her witchy powers and her gun boots and her hair suit. Worse of all had to be the dialogue. So stilted, so drippy, so filled with creepy instances of sexual innuendo, it all just felt…gross, over the top, fan service-y, and unnecessary. And that was that.

Get naked. Fight evil. Sound like the tag line for bad, late-night porn.

Get naked. Fight evil. Bayonetta or bad porn?

Or it was until the release of Bayonetta 2 just a few weeks ago. My husband’s preordered copy arrived safely in the mail and he, being quite busy with Destiny and Call of Duty, encouraged me to play it. Said it was simply all sorts of fun and worth it. I couldn’t lie – the massive hype surrounding Bayonetta 2 had made me a little curious. So one night in the very recent past, while he was embroiled in a massive gun battle, I took to the heavens with Bayonetta.

And I didn’t want to stop playing.

Within the first hour, my judgmental disposition had completely melted and I was like a puddle in Bayonetta’s glorious embrace. The ridiculousness of that creation who was Bayonetta? Still ridiculous, but fuck-me-running if the girl didn’t have some killer moves. Those “killer” [i.e. punish/torture] moves? Gleeful and evil, but mostly because I hate quicktime events. The conversations? Not as bad as I remembered – they paved an interesting path as Bayonetta tried to remember her own past. I still wanted to punch Luka every time I saw him, but, okay…maybe he was a little disarming at times. Just, a little. And Cerveza was quite cute with her wittle British accent and stuffed cat. It was all good. Very, very good.

Damn puppy dog eyes... Fine, let's go - but no crying!

Damn puppy dog eyes… Fine, let’s go – but no crying!

As much as the combat and gameplay roped me in, what really captured my attention more than anything else was the game’s story. And I don’t just mean Bayonetta’s story, I mean the story of her world (Vigrid), her companions, her rival (Jeanne), and her enemies. I rarely read codex entries in any game, but I read each and every new codex I found in Bayonetta. I just wanted to know more, especially about the Umbra Witches and the Lumen Sages and the angels they fought. I’m not a fan of “heaven” and “hell” and all the mythology that goes with those terms, but I found myself completely wrapped up in learning how those concepts had been applied to the game. On the opposite of the intelligence spectrum, I fell head-over-heels in love with Bayonetta’s character depictions, as one-sided as they often were, from the predictable dolt Enzo to the overtly sexualized angels named Joy. Each new angel I encountered was perfectly captivating, and I spent as much time fighting as I did simply taking in all their intricacies. (Which, led to a lot of dying, but was such the risk I was willing to take for savoring more eye candy.)

Jubileus the Creator. So...pretty.

Jubileus the Creator. So…pretty.

As for Bayonetta, she really was one crazy bitch. But you try putting up with hordes of un-angelic angels for centuries while learning about the history of your now-dead race of witches and see if that doesn’t make you a little cranky! If Bayonetta possessed one flaw is was that she was too perfect a bitch. Mad fighting prowess aside, her demeanor and personality were so starkly confident that I had a hard time believing in her more vulnerable moments. Instances that placed her in the role of “mother” or “victim” were very transparent and jolting because she simply did not fit those bills. For fuck’s sake, she’s BAYONETTA! Umbra Witch extraordinaire and savoir of Vigrid! Not a wet nurse or pathetic creature in need of saving!

And that’s far too many exclamation points, but so be it. Because reaching the end of Bayonetta was like one, big exclamation point. And I got a pole dance for my efforts, which was…weird. Classy, but still unsettling. Cause Bayonetta’s not about sex. Oh, it’s a sexy game in many regards, but the thought of Bayonetta kowtowing to the basest of human actions just…seems…wrong. And I don’t care how many Bayonetta-Morrigan fantasies are out there. It’s still wrong.

Goddammit Bayonetta, you’re just too fucking perfect! And I love you. Now. Sorry about then. Let’s dance. Round 2 awaits.

And this time I'll even put up with the gratuitous ass shots.

And this time I’ll even put up with the gratuitous ass shots.

Preserving Information: It’s Not Magic, It’s People (And it takes a lot of work!)

cary:

What does it mean to be a paper-pusher in the digital age? For librarians, archivists, and others who help preserve our many, many, many paper trails, it means having to toe the line between the needs of the records and the needs of those who want to use the records. It was with this notion in mind that I wrote the following post for Geek Force Network. Information is a valuable thing; preserving it for the future is, perhaps, more so.

Originally posted on Geek Force Network:

Do you remember what it was like doing research and writing papers in the Stone Age? When the most accessible fonts of knowledge we had occurred the forms of gigantic sets of encyclopedias, miles worth of microfilm, and card catalogs so large that they could easily fill up one of today’s server farms? If you don’t, then we might not be able to be friends.

Okay, I’m just joking there.  (Or, am I?) But there is a strange yet noticeable divide growing between the traditional and the digital when it comes to accessing information. I see it all the time in my work. When people ask if we have a certain bit of historical data in our archives/library, the first question is not longer “is it available?” but “is it digitized?” (Or, likewise, “can I view it online?”)…

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Totally 80s: He-Man and She-Ra (Though mostly He-Man, and Teela)

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #16 from 53 Things Only 80s Girls Can Understand

How She-Ra was the O. G. badass.

Well okay, but...

Well okay, but…

I think Buzzfeed might have gotten their female Masters of the Universe characters mixed up here, because I’m pretty darn sure that Teela was the real O. G. badass of the series…the animated series.

That's right, boys.

That’s right, boys.

Or, maybe the Sorceress was.

These image searchers are becoming scarier all the time.

These image searches are becoming scarier all the time.

In any event, when I first considered this list item, I couldn’t for the life of me place She-Ra in the same sphere as He-Man. While doing my dutiful research, I remembered that’s because she wasn’t. At least not at first. She was introduced in a later animated movie. Looking at images of her action figure, I’m pretty sure she was not in my collection of Barbie and Jem dolls. But Teela…Teela was, as was all the badassery that came with her.

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Retro Bound?

cary:

A few months ago, before Dragon Age: Inquisition came rambling along and Bayonetta hooked me with merely a glance, I considered a possible gaming future that was rooted in the past. I thought that in order for me to really stick with gaming as a perpetual hobby, I might have to focus less on the here-and-now in gaming and more on the overlooked gems of generations gone by. These inklings culminated in the post below that I wrote for United We Game. Despite the fact that I’m playing recent games now, I wouldn’t call these thoughts quelled. If anything, my desire to head back before moving directly forward is stronger than ever. Though it is humming along quietly in the backseat while I take on dragons and witches. Because, priorities.

Originally posted on United We Game:

Image by Flickr user kylebaker

I mage by Flickr user kylebaker

As the beginning of 2014, you know how many games for which I was so incredibly excited I was counting down the minutes to the released dates? Exactly zero. That’s not to say I wasn’t looking forward to a few games (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, and Fable Anniversary, for example), or that I was oblivious to the release of the likes of Titanfall, Thief, or other big budget titles. It’s just that nothing new really lit up all my gaming cylinders.

So here we are nine months later, and only one game has me all a’jittery – Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s the only game this year that I’ve even thought of pre-ordering. And if I do get it, well…it’s still an if. (Though I probably will get it.)

Lately, I’ve been much…

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iTunes Diaries, entry #23: “A Tune for Jack” by Lemon Jelly

I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes.  I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale.  Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not.  In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey.  I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site.  With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment. 

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Songs tell us stories. Sometimes they do it directly through actual words. But sometimes they do it no less directly through music (with occasional clues). In the case of “A Tune for Jack,” I don’t know jack about Jack is, but I do know a little about the group that created it – Lemon Jelly. I know that Lemon Jelly is a duo. They are from the United Kingdom. Their music falls within the realm of electronic with emphasis on downtempo and ambient. Is that enough? Because that was the gist of what I got from Pandora the first time I heard the song. (P. S. “A Tune from Jack” is off of Lemon Jelly’s debut album lemonjelly.ky [2000].)

From the get-go, I connected with the song’s lush rhythms and plucky piano. (I love the piano and maybe someday I’ll learn to play it again.) “A Tune for Jack” is a warm, cozy song that wrapps you in delightfulness like comfort food. It’s easy on the ears. It’s easy to get along with the swaying beat. It’s easy to admire its simple musicality.

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A directionless post on Super Street Fighter IV

Bypass Super Street Fighter IV? Pshaw. That game was a must-buy for our PS3 in 2010. And good thing too because we were sorely lacking in fighting games for that console. (Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was still a year away.)

Super Street Fighter IV cover art © Capcom, Sony

Super Street Fighter IV cover art © Capcom, Sony

As I sit here recalling the game, I’m realizing that I have little in the way of opinion about it…as a fighting game. It’s a Street Fighter game, undoubtedly. I l-o-v-e- Street Fighter games. The controls, the characters, they’re pretty much as perfect as can be. The cast of fighters brims with old favorites and a few new faces. I played through the game twice, once with Zangief, because of course, and once with Rose, whom I really enjoyed from Super Street Fighter II Turbo and was quite happy to see again. But I only played through it twice, this despite the amazing roster, the pretty renderings, and the integration of intriguing if minimal stories in arcade mode. Yes, I played through it with other human beings, but on my own, I only saw two characters through to fruition.

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