A Retrospective

2016 was a really shit year.  A lot of idols close to my heart passed on.  Too many changes, dysfunctional family still proving to be as dysfunctional as ever.  (I need to learn to no longer be surprised by this.)



But while I stand with the hatewagon for the year, I note that a lot of good things happened too, though unfortunately sandwiched by a lot of the aforementioned.  That doesn't detract from what I hope it to be small steps towards a bigger goal for me this 2017.

GaymerX Australia proved to be a first step in a positive direction for me.  Far be it for me to call myself a Militant SJW, diversity had always something I never compromised on.  Granted, I always happily warmed the benches, far more articulate and well-versed people took the front for me, but GaymerX gave me the opportunity, and even the potentially growing backbone to stand up for parts of diversity that were important to me, that I didn't see anyone else fight for.

One of the brightest things to happen was the most positive meeting with Tim Cain, one of the creators of the original Fallout series.  There are no notable anecdotes to be had from meeting him, but being able to talk so earnestly with someone who created a world where I met so many new friends in and felt free to explore myself  was a great motivator for someone with as chronic an illness as I have. 

 Though I have to say, he gives great hugs.

Though I have to say, he gives great hugs.

I'm perpetually ridden with social insecurity, and I always assume anything I contribute amounts little to nothing in the larger picture.  I had always been largely a reactive personality, unmoving unless spurred on by some external stimuli.  I found myself being a lot more proactive with discourse to things I was invested in and, more importantly I learned to be more open and less defensive (and am /still/ learning, real talk) about things important to me.

So much so, I am actually in discussions for being part of an international diversity team (TBD, as a lot of things are up in the air, so excuse the vague non-statement) in association with GX.

My course in illustration taught me to be confident in my work, and in doing so has seen less debilitating art blocks in the last few months alone.  One of the main factors of this was getting into Critical Role.  It's honestly a saga-length episodic tour of Nerdy Voice-Actors Playing Dungeons And Dragons.  It goes without saying that as a piece of media, it doesn't have its shortcomings, but that aside, it saw a a lot of fanart from me. 

By proxy, one of the most important highlights of 2016, that even with as low (almost non-existent) bar that I hole for 2017 will ever mar, is getting into Dungeons and Dragons.  The interest has always been there, but Critical Role anchored it, and I go into much more detail in this article I wrote for GirlsGotGame detailing my forays into tabletop RPGs.  It was such a positive and successful venture into a new old-school hobby, that it is something of a regular schedule of mine, every Saturday.  We even have a Youtube channel.

Which segues nicely into the fact I also solidified my role as artist and contributor for the aforementioned website.  Girl's Got Game maintained by some of the most eloquent, intelligent ladies I've ever met, and only by vague luck and connections did I land such meaningful work.  Writing is no easy feat for me, as growing up I'd assumed the role of "Artiste" while my brother was "The Writer".  So being able to articulate well enough to be considered such was a considerable positive for me as the year progressed.

A nice bookend to my entire diversity schtick was a very frightening trip to Melbourne, a week of many firsts.  I'd saved up considerably, and travelled alone for the first time.  I spoke at a panel about diversity in tabletop, and met so many interesting people, ranging from a game developer of one of the most intricate, diverse world-building I've seen to the most articulate academic involved in tertiary studies about tabletop narratives.

In the end, there has been a lot of tangible, considerable and debilitating losses in 2016, ranging from the inconvenient to the life-stoppingly tragic.  But none of it could ever snuff out what I've gained from actively fighting against the cycle of melancholy it threatened to drown me in.  I gained a change I had been desparate for, /fighting/ for in spite all of my accumulated chagrin.  

In fact, yes, fighting.  That's what I'm going to be all about in 2017.  It's time for a personal revolution.

GXAustralia 2017 | Politicking.

First things first...

Did you know the Kickstarter for GXAustralia is up? They need every support they can muster in the next 48 hours! So please, even if you can't pledge, spread it around to friends and peers who might!

I've already pledged a hefty amount since I really do want to see this aspect of the game industry flourish, especially in Australia.


An Update on things:

It's been several months since I started this blog.  However it's been a challenge to maintain it because it does require monetary upkeep.  Between that and a mixture of financial and personal difficulties, it's certainly been a challenge to keep productive.

I'm quite a few terms into the Illustration Course, and to my surprise, this is the first time I've finished one entire 120+ page sketchbook.  I usually putter off after hitting the halfway mark and have a lot of unused halves of sketchbooks gathering dust in a corner of my study.  If you have any interest in Illustration, or want to hone your skills for any industry, I really suggest you look up Production Art Department

(Drawings from which, will eventually make its way here).

I've also been sitting on starting a Patreon.  Several peers and artists I look up to have invested in such, but I am at a loss as to what kind of products I can offer at the different amounts.  I've drafted a few ideas and it's sitting there on my Patreon as I type, however until I finalise payment options / tax papers, it's still up in the air.

Video Game Inclusivity

There's been a fair amount of diversity happening across the video game industry, much to my pleasure.  Between (non-sexualised) female protagonists like Emily from Dishonored 2, black protagonists such as in the upcoming Watch_Dogs 2, it's definitely been a refreshing change.  Don't get me wrong, a good story is still a good story regardless.  However respectful representation is a more important issue for me, than quality of narrative.

Much less can still be said of the Film and TV industry - though I suppose while its leaders remain entrenched in archaic conventions, change will come very slowly and erratically.  I heard the Ghostbusters movie was a success, but it was still far from perfect due to their treatment of the single token Woman of Color.

Politics Is A Thing

As of typing, the livestreaming of the US Presidential "Debate" (which is, pun intended, debatable) has just ended, and almost all of my social media is inundated with furious tweets, posts and blogs about Trump's rather juvenile attitude throughout the event.  

...pretty much sums up the amount of investment I have in US politics.  While USA still has a hefty finger in the proverbial Filipino Pie, a lot of what happens there will echo strongly among the populace in my home country.  

Granted I'm not even in Philippines anymore, but it's still something that matters to me, regardless of where I am.

A New Portfolio...

It's the Monday right after GXAustralia.  Very rarely do I come away from a con feeling so enriched and overjoyed (I still am).  It was both entertaining and informative - something I don't usually expect from conventions, since they're almost always there for the consumers, merchandising, advertising rather than any consideration for creators.  More importantly, GXAustralia was there for BOTH ends of the product line. 

On the Saturday, I'd left with a friend and met with amazing big names, (very surprising turn out for a convention's debut) including David Gaider, Tim Cain and Chris Avellone.

The thing I appreciate the most was because GX was just starting out, it was relatively small and very intimate.  Conventions don't usually let you just approach someone without having to wrangle and plead against a wall of volunteers forming a bodyguard line between you and a speaker.   Yet here I was, taking selfie after selfie with people I've looked up to for so long.

I'm unfortunately someone who almost always places idols on a pedestal and consequently dehumanise them in that way.  Being able to approach, say Tim Cain, was a real eyeopener in that respect.  Well, my eyes were wide open the entire convention from being star-stuck. 

Fangeeking aside, I really did enjoy everything they had to say in terms of representation in the video games industry.  It's no secret I've been trying to find that particular chink I fit best in the concrete wall that is the games industry.  They shared their shortcomings and successes, both as a developer and someone from the LGBTQIA community, either identifying or an ally.

It's ridiculous what we have to go through to be able to be considered worthy of not only having our opinions listened to, but also to even HAVE one.  We have to write 50 page essays as to why certain microaggressions, power systems made on oppressive foundations are so wrong to perpetuate in this society.  But knowing that there are these vastly talented people who have the power to change that from within the industry, are also so erudite and worldly to be able to help in that regard.

I've already tweeted endlessly as to my disappointment regarding GX's lack of POC speakers.  But I'm hoping with enough coverage to their debut success, they will be able to invite more of them to speak on behalf of cultures that need that critical voice from both within and without the industry.

Overall, the weekend is what inspired me to start this, hopefully more stable, anchor for both my works as well as my meanderings.

'Til next,