The real winner of PAX East 2019 was my mom

I saw a lot of fun games and spoke to a bunch of great people this weekend, but the real winner of PAX East 2019 was my mother. Now a retired nurse, my 65-year-old mother decided she would come to PAX for a day to see what all the fuss was about. She recently bought a Switch and is a huge fan of Animal Crossing, so there was bound to be something here for her. Turns out there was quite a bit.

In one of the coolest moments that we sadly can’t show, Destructoid’s own Jonathan Holmes chatted with my mom while she played Mortal Kombat 11 on Switch. When they walked into the demo booth, even the Nintendo rep was surprised she was there for such a violent title. As she explained to Holmes, she played them when I was just a child, so she eventually grew to like it.

When I caught back up with her, she was tagging along with my sister to try out Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. I did manage to capture that, which you can see below. She’s not very good, but by god does she do her best…right up until the demo kiosk crashed. I guess she was showing up the audience too much, so the PlayStation couldn’t handle it.

My sister and mom also checked out Yoshi’s Crafted World, though my mom did not understand how to play it. Funny that she can grasp Mortal Kombat, but not Yoshi. I guess when you’re more interested in eviscerating opponents than throwing eggs, you’ll learn to adapt.

We all had a fun day on the town, checking out new games and reliving old classics. While my mom may not return to PAX, she had a great time seeing how technology has progressed in the 27-years since the original Mortal Kombat released. Also, I can confirm that MK11 runs very smoothly on Switch. It’s really quite the showcase for how powerful Nintendo’s device is. It’s a hell of a port.

Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye

For youth growing up in the 2000’s, AOL Instant Messenger was basically a way of life. Not having a screen name meant you didn’t talk to anyone, apart from meeting at school. Gone were the days of clogging up phone lines or leaving your baggage at school; now you could continue the conversation at any moment.

It allowed kids to express themselves freely while also giving others the time to calculate their responses. Talking face to face can be intimidating and difficult, but an instant messenger gives you lots of free time to contemplate just what you will say.

That doesn’t mean everything you type will be perfect. Far from it, actually. Emily Is Away shows just how mixed any seemingly innocent response can be. When two people are not ready to express how they feel about each other, it doesn’t matter what medium of communication they are using.

While this game may not resonant so much for younger gamers, anyone who actually used AIM will get struck right to the core. We’ve all had that one person we wished we could be 100% honest with. We’ve all wanted to speak our minds completely, but fear that saying the wrong thing will ruin everything.

It’s hard to see that come rushing back, especially when the entire look and feel of AIM is recreated down to a tee. It’s neat to be taken back to a desktop from my youth and have it function basically the same way. I’ve also come to hate that damn message noise, for all the awkward things I said in my past.

What the game reveals, though, is that both parties are in the same situation. A lot of men like to believe that women are manipulative bitches, but that isn’t the case. Emily does care for you (well, the you from this game), but she doesn’t know how to say it. She’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Life has no single answer and she is just trying to figure everything out. She was always a friend, but possibly could have been more. If both parties had just said what they wanted, then maybe this romance could work. The great thing about this game (much like Depression Quest) is that the correct response will come up, only your character will erase it.

Sometimes it’s easy to type things in a furry of rage and adrenaline, but then you begin to second guess yourself. I remember moments like that, even if I tended to just speak my mind without caring. Still, Emily Is Away definitely captures all those awkward transitional phases of life.

You can replay chapters, but all of the choices in place do not allow you to game the system. The outcome is fixed, even if your personality can be manipulated. It doesn’t allow you to have the happy ending you want, which is a bit of a bummer, but also partially realistic.

Instant messengers were a very impersonal way to chat with friends. You had anonymity and never needed to look someone in the eye. You didn’t even need them to be present; you could type up a literal dissertation and plant it at their virtual doorstep. It had all the convenience of the modern era with just enough of a margin of error to make mistakes.

It just made things weird. I remember my last year of high school and constantly talking to the one girl I fell for. She would blurt out her exploits and I’d be filled with rage, but I internalized everything. Since she couldn’t see my face, she never knew there was an issue.

I also got into some sociopathic practices and made dummy accounts to try and catch her in lies. It was a really troubling part of my life that I’ve done everything to forget. While I will never be cleansed of the nightmare, at least I acknowledge how wrong it was and never practice it.

Emily Is Away doesn’t get that dark with it’s narrative, but it does make one wonder about how things could be different. If you said something else or badgered Emily a little more, maybe your future could come true.

While it’s mostly just a different way to experience a story, Emily Is Away does end up being a really cool little game. Essentially a choose your own adventure style game, Emily Is Away can shed some real insight on how you live and love. It also allows you to not hurt anyone in the process.

Unobtainable Love

Feelings of love are a very curious thing. They strike without warning and fester without asking. Love drives people to the brink of insanity or brings them to the cusp of ecstasy. Love can mend your life, but love can also break your heart.

I happen to find myself smitten with someone, yet I am utterly confused as to why. This lovely girl is someone I met over the past summer. I worked with her only for a few short months and I did not see a strong bond between us. The best quality about her, for me, was the ease I had in approaching her and speaking my mind.

Regardless, I have not seen this girl since she left work. That was approximately one month ago, give or take a few days. I wanted to say so much to her on her last day, but I held my tongue and wished her luck. There is no need to ruin her perception of me, especially since I could tell it was positive.

Still, this past month has seen me leave one job and become isolated. Wishing I could still have strong friendships at work, I keep thinking about the good times at my previous job. I had worked there for two years and all I can think about is her. Even though I have never spent time with her outside of my job and I actually have contact with a few other co-workers, she is the one I see in my dreams.

I remember the first day I actually worked with her, too. She had come back from another state and was transferring to a school locally. Being away from her family did not bode well with her. She was ringing a customer out and could not remember a few of the PLUs. I butted in, like I tended to, and felt some kind of superiority. She was pleased, but I was just aggravated that some petulant child was given her job back, regardless of qualification.

For the next week or so, I did not introduce myself or even really speak to her. I was not an angry or irate person towards her, but I wanted nothing to do with this girl. I had been working my ass off for nearly two years and had gotten barely any recognition, but this bitch could come back after a year and be greeted with open arms! That was infuriating beyond belief for me.

One afternoon, though, an older co-worker of mine had told me that this girl always loved working with me. She was happy when I provided help and was delighted that at least one of the baggers was able to competently perform their job. My presence, in all likelihood, just made her feel at ease. I guess caring about your job makes others perk up. Who knew?

Well, once I was told that, I swallowed my idiotic and misplaced pride and spoke to her. Turns out we had a few things in common, but not a vast majority of similarities. We both loved the Beatles and that alone gave me plenty of conversational pieces. I actually puzzled her with a few of the songs I recommended and her father interviewed Paul McCartney himself!

Still, I was astonished at how easy talking to her was. I could mention anything and this girl would respond to me. I have never had that happen to me, even with the girl I swear I was in love with. This co-worker shot straight up my list of favorite people to be around, let alone co-workers.

Over the weeks, we spoke more about anything that came to our minds. She mentioned “Portal” and how the game was seemingly difficult to her, which I chuckled a bit. I at least gave her credit for trying and explained that her perceived difficulty was probably just due to a lack of experience. I never belittled her or ridiculed her for not being able to complete the game.

When I mentioned I would be heading to DC for a System of a Down concert, she told me about how she was in love with them in her middle school/high school years. We chatted about some of our favorite tunes and even got another co-worker to add his two cents. The atmosphere shifted from work related tension to jovial fun.

Then one weekend, she had to get coverage for a shift of hers. She had randomly won tickets to a Dave Matthews concert and was not missing the show. That is literally her favorite band in the world. I happily took the shift for her and explained how if Dave Matthews was her thing, I understood perfectly.

Now I personally am addicted to Dave Matthews. Maybe subconsciously I am trying to impress this girl, but seeing as how I probably will never encounter her again, why am I bothering? Is my need to find love so pathetic and nagging that I will fling it onto a person no longer in my presence?

What makes matters worse is that this girl has been dating someone for five years. She obviously is in a committed and happy relationship, yet I keep seeing myself with her. Before I even found out, I told myself that I could see myself being with this girl forever.

That last thought is entirely silly and brainless. How would I even know that I love her? What exactly have I done with this girl to cause such a stir to my heart? What if I am entirely mistaken and just filled with lust?

Speaking of that, this girl really is not a drop-dead diva. While she certainly is a pretty girl and I had a strange infatuation with the way her teeth looked, I could not claim she was a perfect ten. What bolsters her beauty for me is how wonderful she is to be around.

I am not unattracted to her, but I was more intrigued and enamored with her personality than anything. Alas, she is not to be mine and I will more than likely never get these thoughts to her. Even if I could, though, would I want to?

As I have been trekking through the Dave Matthews catalog, one song comes to mind. The love song “Sleep to Dream Her” rings truer for me each day. A tale of a man who cannot be with a woman except for in his dreams; that is exactly my current situation.

I would never force her to be with me, though. Even if I will never be able to say I actually did love this girl, I care too much about her to enforce my own stupid wants and needs upon her.

Hopefully I will be able to tell her how I felt one day, looking back. Maybe when we are old and happy with families and responsibilities, I can laugh to her and recount how I fell head over heels for her. Maybe if I improve my voice, I can sing her the Beatles “Julia,” to which she claims her name comes from.

Whatever the case, I just am unable to remove her from my thoughts. She permeates in my mind and I have not made physical contact with her in weeks. If I ever hear that she has left her boyfriend, though, you better believe that I will make every attempt to cease my lack of “contact.,” even if my means coming back home.

I’ve Fallen Again…And Hard!

It seems I’ve done it again. I’ve fallen hard for my old friend. Snake just has a way with words and his blue eyes are so enchanting. Yes, I’m talking about Metal Gear.

This past weekend, I beat “Metal Gear Solid 3” again. Long considered my favorite of the series, I was eager to jump back in when I purchased the HD Collection last month. Finishing off my plate of titles from 2011, I immediately threw the disc into my PS3 when I had a clean slate.

That’s not the only thing I’m falling for. No, just like all those years ago, I believe I’m coming down with a case of love sickness. My recent efforts to expand my rapport at work have led me to develop a lust for one of my co-workers.

If any of you still haven’t played MGS3, then I apologize for any spoilers. Considering the game is now close to 8 years old, though, I don’t believe I’ll be including any tags. Your only warning rests here.

My first time with the game was in 2004, when I was a Junior in a brand new high school. I had trouble making friends and since I was depressed beyond reason, I actually couldn’t muster up the will to even play the title. I was content with having it and Metroid Prime 2 become bookends.

When the New Year rolled around, I began talking with my now best friend, Jim. I mentioned that I had gotten MGS3 for Christmas and his eyes lightened up. He was in love with the series and demanded I play the game.

Well, I somehow got myself to suffer through the awful camera and I became entranced. Nothing was stopping me from fully loving this title, even some of the hammy dialog. I experienced all the highs and lows that Snake did. I cried multiple times throughout the plot.

When it was all said and done, I went back to Jim and professed my love of the game. We quickly became close friends and haven’t faltered that badly in the years since. Well, it couldn’t have been too troublesome as Jim is almost as close as family to me.

During my journey, though, there was a girl I had admired at school. While it wasn’t on the same level that I would eventually have for the girl the following year, I was fairly smitten with her. Sadly, I only admired her from a far.

Every chance I went to speak with her, I would freeze up. I didn’t possess the courage to simply talk to her. I would talk to my friends about how I thought she was beautiful and I would fantasize about her during class. It was simply a voyeuristic lust.

Now, my current situation isn’t anything like this. I’ve actually spoken to my fellow co-worker, so that’s already a step ahead of my 16-year-old self. Still, the types of conversations I’ve had with my co-worker aren’t exactly what you’d call romantic.

She will sometimes mutter to one of our superiors about how she wishes she had a boyfriend or could spend her time with someone. Even today, she made some crack about being alone with a box of chocolates. I never really know exactly what to say to these quips.

When she’s busy with customers, I sometimes catch myself staring at her. I’m taken back by how alluring and magnificent she is. When she talks, I fall on her every word, though not enough to reveal my hidden interest. I try my best to brighten her day, even if my advice is often too truthful.

This makes me think back to the character of Eva from MGS3. While she doesn’t come into play until around halfway through the game, she is quickly established as a love interest for Snake. The funny thing is, though, that Eva has no true interest in Snake.

My attraction back in 2004 felt like his, but is now perfectly summed up by my current desire. Snake knows how to get Eva’s attention, but it’s not exactly for the reasons he would like. Eva will carefully listen to Snake, but only because she’s a damn triple agent looking for any details.

At one point, she even removes most of her clothing to tempt Snake. Well, forgive me for taking Snake’s side, but a man can only be pushed so far. Thankfully, my co-worker hasn’t revealed any part of herself to me (or maybe that’s bad…).

Diving back into the jungles of this game couldn’t have happened at a better point in my life. My maturation has let me see the game in a new light, but the ties to my past within my present are keeping me fully engaged.

I’m not sure if my chances are any better currently, but I do know that lust is taking over me. Just like Snake, I’m craving the attention of someone who probably won’t discern the same emotions.

For the hell of it, I’m going to re-re-beat the game. And, for once, I may finally talk to a girl about my feelings. Maybe she’ll be able to see through my rough exterior…

While I can’t say for certain that my feelings for her are strong, I can claim certainty about my love of MGS3. I will always love this game, regardless of where my life takes me.

I will always love this face paint, too!

Sex Done Right: Catherine

Sex in video games is a ridiculously touchy subject for me. I wrote an entire blog post detailing how I disliked it so much (to which many of you thought I was insane), but I’m not here to bombast against it. No, I actually have a more positive view this time.

My first argument was that sex in video games wasn’t been shown in a realistic light. My solution was to develop characters first and then give them personalities that would showcase sex in a realistic manner. Well, thank you Atlus for creating “Catherine”.

Just look at this game. Screen shots, trailers, previews, whatever. It looks phenomenal. I may be skeptical about its gameplay elements, but I have nothing but admiration for its plot line. While it’s not showing the positive side of sexual encounters, the game at least shows how sex can affect an individual.

It may be a bit early for me to be commenting about the characters, but I think Atlus has really nailed it out of the park with the Catherine/Katherine aspect. You have both stereotypes of love/women in this game. One is the typical “evil” and the other the typical “good.” I find it humorous that Catherine, representing “evil,” is decked out in white while Katherine, representing “good,” is dressed in black/dark colors.


Why does Vincent look so aggravated?

It also looks like they aren’t skimping on the main character Vincent’s torment. They don’t show him as in a positive light or even say that his action of cheating on his fiance is good. Hell, they go the opposite direction and make the whole debacle tear him up inside.

Look at the sexy bits, too. Nothing is dramatic or over the top. Yeah, I suppose Catherine being covered by only a blanket may seem insane to some people, but I feel the story warrants that kind of exposure. If anything, I think the game isn’t going far enough in its sexual depiction.


Mothers, avert your children! Now, responsible mothers, explain this scene.

My only concern is that the story won’t be that serious. If you’ve played any kind of Japanese game (or watched more recent cinema), you know that the plot lines take radical jumps in logic and reason at points. We can already see from the trailers that there are sheep men and giant forks, but those occur within the dream sequences.

Then again, maybe that’s the entire point of the dream sequences. Maybe Atlus doesn’t know how to explain their plot-line without it flying into wildly asinine territory, so they created a cop-out. I’m all for this if the story finally shows that all sex isn’t just some kind of stupid fantasy.


Oh no, Giant Fetus!

So, while my views on sex are still very “conservative” and I really think most games shouldn’t even bother, I’m happy that something like “Catherine” exists. Critics and talking heads might not be able to see past the partial nudity, but this game will give other developers a chance to really create something special.

And hell, it doesn’t hurt that Atlus’ art team has created a very pretty character. Now we just need to see if she get’s developed more.


Kylie Minogue has a song for her.