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GeekGirlCon, WA
Seattle, WA, October 10 - 11, 2015 GeekGirlCon, Seattle, WA, October 11-12, 2014

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Famicom Females: Leilani/Tina (Adventure Island), Al Tiana (Space Hunter)

ai-euLeilani (Tina) (Hudson's Adventure Island/Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima)
Release Date: September 12, 1986
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft

Format: Cartridge

Role: NPC (Damsel)

Any Subsequent Appearances: Yes

Introduction: Princess Leilani (or Tina, depending on the localization) has been kidnapped by the Evil Witch Doctor, and it's up to Master Higgins to rescue her. ...yes, that's about as deep as it gets here. Adventure Island was originally a Famicom port of Wonder Boy, Westone Entertainment's (then known as Escape) Master System title...that is essentially the same game as this one. Along the way, Hudson decided to honor one of their employees, the fast-fingered Toshiyuki Takahashi, and remolded the lead character into Takahashi Meijin, a caricature of Takahashi. Thus, the game became its own series, as Westone took Wonder Boy into a more fantasy-oriented direction, while Hudson kept plugging along with additional Adventure Island titles.

In America, Takahashi Meijin became Master Higgins. Tina is a holdover from Wonder Boy, but featured a new name only in the English manual, Leilani – Tina was curiously retained in the Japanese version of the game as well as the ending credits of the American localization (showing how little Hudson USA actually put effort into the in-game text of this). In Adventure Island II, Leilani gains a sister named – guess! – Tina, who must then be rescued, and thus becomes the permanent damsel in the series. That isn't confusing at all! And then, adding even more weirdness to their localization history, Hudson sometimes called her Jeannie Jungle in later games, but failed to do that across the board, so you have Tina and Jeannie being named the same character in different materials for the games to follow. Jeez. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to operate under the assumption that the American manual for Adventure Island is incorrect, and that Leilani, Jeannie and Tina are all the same character. It'll make a lot more sense that way. I apparently need to do a Culture Clash article on this.

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"Princess Ugg" by ONI Press

"Princess Ugg," issue 1Princess Ugg, published by ONI Press, is the unsung peer to Ms. Marvel. It’s a great coming of age story that deals with accepting yourself even when everyone says you’re doing it wrong.

“Attend, o travellers from distant lands,
For I shall sing unto thee
Of swords and sorority
Of high adventure
And higher education!” – Princess Ugg, issue 1

Princess Ülga is from Grimmeria where the feats of her warrior mother and grandmother are legend. To keep her promise to learn how to lead by something besides the sword, Ülga does one of the bravest things she’s ever done—she leaves her home and enrolls in a finishing school for princesses.

"Princess Ugg," issue 2

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An Eulogy to Nintendo's Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata was not your conventional gaming executive. When E3 rolls around, I typically ignore the suits, the hosts, and the CEOs from all of the other companies, as I know they are just marketing pigeons trying to hype up some product. And that's okay – it's a part of the business, and there are some amazing moments that have spurned from such notions.

But Iwata wasn't cut from the same cloth. He was genuine in his enthusiasm for this medium. When he got on stage or on camera, there was something about him that transcended the presentation; a heart beating for the power of video games. Unfortunately, that heart ceased a few weeks ago. Iwata succumbed to an apparent resurgence of the tumor that attacked his bile duct in 2013, and it was a shock to just about everyone, Nintendo included. I don't know if Iwata necessarily knew if he was relapsing, and I don't know what Nintendo's next step will be in determining how to move forward. But that's not the point of this essay. I want to focus on what he devoted himself to through the majority of his tragically short 55 years: the games.

bfBalloon Fight is one of my favorite old-school arcade games. It has an incredible precision that Joust and other contemporaries lacked, and I liked the quirky design of the characters and feared the sinister fish that swallowed up anyone foolish enough to tempt it. Iwata programmed the game so tightly that Shigeru Miyamoto suggested consulting Iwata about how to handle the task of swimming in Super Mario Bros.! Iwata himself remembered that "one thing I recommended was that instead of calculating the character's position using integers, they should also calculate it using decimal points, thereby doubling the precision. In this way, calculating gravity, buoyancy, acceleration and deceleration all become more precise and the movements look smoother."

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“Descender” from Image Comics

“Descender: Tin Stars,” vol. 1, September 2015, Image Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Illustrator: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer/Designer: Steve Wands

Image Comics has really been hitting it out of the ballpark lately. Outside of the superhero genre, which is owned by Marvel and DC, Image has the corner on sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural. They have so many new title releases I can’t possibly get them all, even though they’re cheaper than shoes.

Descender, which began in March 2015, is a sci-fi series about man verses machine written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen. But don’t let any of the clichés about this familiar sci-fi theme paint any pre-cog pictures.

"Descender," issue 1, March 2015, page 8, Dr. Quon and the megacosmThe megacosm, a population of nine species across nine planets, is attacked by nine moon-sized robots that appear from nowhere. As a result, humans turn against machines and the rock star of robotics, Dr. Jin Quon.

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Better as a Whole Than in Parts

One of the most important, basic human needs outside of the physical is the need to be included. It doesn’t take a room full of psychologists to prove that as a child if you’re not accepted into your own family it has long lasting social, psychological, and emotional affects.

As we mature, familial belonging can no longer satiate us so we set out into the world to find our place. We are individuals but we must know we belong, that we fit, that our existence is approved.

Social media might meet this essential need for a small percentage of people who can’t find inclusion anywhere else, but it’s a poor substitute. In the long run, the negative impact of social media is much, much worse than the holes it fills.

Social media provides so much affirmation that people jump into a community without finding out whether it’s based on truth, is a positive contribution to society, or whether it truly represents them as a person. For the price of an app, we sell our character for a retweet.

Selfie celebrities aren’t the worst thing to come out of social media (seriously, they’re not) but the prolific and organized trolls, shame-bots, and half-assed journalists.

There is no one who celebrates the freedom of expression and the broad and accessible audience the internet provides for creative endeavors more than me. But it is being used for evil, not good.

Social media provides immediate gratification and it is a white water rapids ride that never ends. There are endless band wagons to jump on and a globe of faceless people to shame.

Inclusion is so important that, at the same time these negative groups include you, they are based on exclusion. Public shaming is a highly effective way to make sure someone is outcast. Calling her a fake disqualifies her. Labeling him a misogynist sacrifices him to the validation gods. Demeaning her contributions entrenches your position.

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