self aware games

DS9: Rules, Games, Winning

One thing while watching Season 7 I keep thinking about is how DS9 deals with success and continually redefines what it means to “win”… and how the lessons they learn by playing games for entertainment informs how they make sense of winning real-life victories.

1) The take-home message of Take Me Out to the Holosuite is that “manufactured triumph” can be just as good as actually winning– the Niners team of misfits was never going to win against superstar Vulcans in the baseball game, but they can win by ~having fun~ and infuriating the main Vulcan guy anyway.  If you can’t win, change the goal.

2) Miles and Julian’s obsession with the Alamo shows also how losing a battle can mean winning the war– in the Battle of the Alamo  the Texans (who are the heroes in US history narratives) are outnumbered, outmatched by Santa Anna’s Mexican troops, and the Texans are slaughtered while standing their ground.  This is a losing battle!  However as Wikipedia further informs me, “Santa Anna’s cruelty during the battle inspired many Texans to join the Texan Army” eventually leading to them winning the overall revolution.  This is Miles and Julian’s escape into fantasy to take the pressure off, but also is a way for them to make sense of the casualty lists.  Will their co-workers and allies have died for nothing, in the end?  If they themselves die will their lives have been worth it?  The desire to avenge the deaths of the Alamo led for Texan victory, and so the DS9 crew has to use their grief over Federation/ally deaths to fuel their will to beat the Dominion.

3) oh and the Season ½ pointless plots with aliens that like to play games that don’t seem like fun to us (Move Along Home, Captive Pursuit, Rivals, perhaps even Q-Less… Battle Lines is not a game in terms of entertainment but it is like a neverending laser tag with real weapons.) is an attempt to set up further questions on what winning means– how can you win when you don’t know what rules you’re playing by?  what happens if you refuse to play the game?  what happens to your honor and integrity when the game isn’t fair to begin with, and in that case what’s the point in playing? (why not just punch Q in his smarmy face?)

4) in Our Man Bashir, Julian and Garak have to win the holosuite game to save the crew trapped from the transporter malfunction, but in the process might be killed themselves.  Garak tries to save him and Julian, but it would kill the crew– this attempt at victory isn’t acceptable to Julian who shoots him, and Garak is pleased at Julian’s commitment: “He showed me that he had the spine to play the game as it ought to be played”.  In the end, Julian “saves the day by destroying the world”– to save the real lives of the crew, he has to lose the expected endgoal of the holosuite game.

5) All of this builds to our more seriously treated plot arcs that deal directly with these themes– how will our heroes save the day, what will they sacrifice in the process, how will they know what victory is and if it’s worth it?  The first related ongoing arc is Bajoran independence and their ongoing struggle with self-governance and rebuilding, as seen through Major Kira: the black and white of the Resistance against Cardassian oppressors doesn’t apply to the murky grey politics of democracy– how to do what is best for the Bajoran people while also letting them make their own decisions. When Bajorans disagree with Bajorans who is the enemy?  How do you deal with nebulous objectives?  Winning was easy, governing’s harder.

6) Sisko’s confrontations with the Maquis culminates with his pursuit/standoffs with Eddington– Federation values don’t generally allow for officers to poison whole planets, not for any reason, but for Sisko to win he has to play the game that Eddington has set up for him, he has to be the Javert to Eddington’s Valjean.  This is against standard Star Trek rules!!! but it pays off and he wins.

8) Sisko’s struggle to win the game while playing by the rules– and then having to overstep those rules– is most obviously dealt with in In the Pale Moonlight.  “I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all… I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Garak was right about one thing: a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant."  No subtext here, this is the thesis statement of this whole theme, from the mouth of the Sisko himself.  This is followed up by the Section 31 episodes, which reveal that the Federation itself– who has set those rules Sisko breaks/bends!– is willing to sacrifice its integrity in order to win in the end.

Whose rules do you play by and when?  If you play to win what do you lose in the process?  By saving the day, do you destroy the world?  Is it worth it?



“Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.” - “I cannot make a promise that I cannot keep. Stupid is in my nature.”

anonymous asked:

What are your thoughts about Sayaka?

Sayaka ! Is ! A very good character !

 And that’s telling something considering that she starts as a caricature. Blame on me, I judged her hard at first. She had ‘AKANE KURASHIKI’ written all over her : the childhood friend, doe-eyed and pretty, who is only there to be a love interest and makes the main character a hero by saving her.

You know at the beginning of the game when we meet everyone and she is like ‘I’m not a doll, you know ?’ and I was like ‘Well, allow me to doubt you.’ And then Makoto and her collides, and it’s cuty and pretty boring, and she is like ‘I’m going to be your assistant because I don’t really exist as my own person, you know, hihi ?’ and I was like :

I’m sorry, okay. I didn’t know anything about this game, and I said, it really gave me some ‘999′ flashbacks, and I was bracing myself to get a bubbly, shallow assistant without personality that would just be there to give us some ship-tease and pushing Makoto to be a hero, bla bla bla.

But listen, just like with many other characters in this game, the writers are really clever and : 

1 ) display the cliché in full view, lulling us, poor audience, into a sense of security. Like I said, I thought I knew what was going to happen. We all did. Sayaka being the damzelle in distress. Or being the innocent cruelly murdered for the sake of Manpain. Nope, try again, me.

2 ) Acknowledge the cliché. The game is self-aware, the game knows how gender shapes our view of society. A cool example of that is the sheet of paper Monokuma put in everyone’s chamber, about how girls have a sewing kit and boys a toolbox, and everyone has to think ‘damn, Monokuma, gender roles much ?’ before being surprised by the reveal that it’s for ~ murder ~ With Junko, with Sakura, with Chihiro, too, the game acknowledges how much gender plays into someone’s interpretation of a character and a situation.

3) Punch the cliché in the face.

Sayaka is an idol. If you know a little about the way idols are treated in Japan, you know how fucking sexist and disgusting this is, for they aren’t allowed to have a boyfriend, they have to keep a ‘innocent’ apparence at all cost no matter what, playing the perfectly fetishized teenage girl to give a boner to creepy losers. It’s not a cool life. It’s not nice, it’s not pleasant, and she says so herself, but at the same time, her life as an Idol offers her attention and a place to belong, something she never got before, and she is able to accept anything as long as she gets that.

What are these ‘not so pleasant’ things that she did ? Could be anything, really, I guess everyone is thinking about sexual stuff and it’s not impossible, but that could mean crushing the concurrence, cheating, lying etc… what’s matter is that she is ready to anything to keep her place, and it breaks my heart how unable to conceive a life without her group she is - while being aware that idols don’t live under the lights forever.

Sometimes I think about what Hope’s Peak told her to make her enroll. She seems certain that the school is going to offer her immortality, and whether they manipulated her in purpose or she just started to believe it on her own, it’s an alarming truth about the way this school is perceived inside the society.

I know a lot of people thinks she is heartless bitch for trying to murder someone, but I can understand how panicked she must have felt, being locked with strangers, threatened by death at any moment, away from any comfort she had as an idol. Also people forget that she didn’t know about the class trial rules. She is the only person who didn’t try to get out by sending everyone to their death. In any case, I’m glad that at not point the game tries to blame her or to say ‘dun dun dun, she was the bad guy all along’ because she really isn’t.

Did she care about Makoto ? Maybe. In a way that was probably very different from the way Makoto cared about her, and a little sadder too. I wish her life has been happier, I wish she had been there a little longer. I wish I knew more about her. But as a whole, she is definitely someone I feel for and I’m interested in and she embodies a lot of what I love about DR.

IRL Glitches In My Life

All right so in my 23 years on this beautiful nightmare rock in space , I’ve had some wild shit happen to me.

So here’s a list of all the things that have me wondering if

1- I’m a protagonist with a grand destiny foretold ages ago in a prophecy

2- I’m a protagonist with a curse of unusual luck and unspeakable tragedy in store

3- I’m an antagonist and am one hot mess away from an origin story

4- I’m a video game character who’s become self aware and the game is trying to delete me

5- I’m actually a fairy , and am a changeling ( strongly hoping tbh)

Anyway ,sometimes my life is wilder than a shonen protagonist’s ~

- At the age of five , on a family vacation , I managed to stop myself from falling into a deep hole at a monorail platform.

How I managed to simply defy physics when much of my weight was over the edge , I don’t know.

All I know is that five year old me was a millimeter away from death and only laughed at the sheer depth of the abyss

- Apparently once when I was like three months old , my uncle was fooling around and juggling knives for laughs. Little baby me was chilling at the table , watching with glee , until my uncle screwed up and a knive flew off-course and quite nearly landed in my tiny hand, missing by a very slim margin.

Baby me , according to uncle Tony , immediately tries to pull the knife out of the high chair tray LIKE SOME KIND OF BABY WINTER SOLDIER

My uncle nearly faints , and somewhere buried in years worth of junk is probably a picture of baby me grinning away as I try to pull the knife that nearly took my fingers out of the tray table


Wtf Michigan why would you even allow that ….

Anyway some prankster kid snuck the snake into my backpack and so when I open it to get my lunchbox , Mr.Hades slithers up my arm .

Now most six year olds would freak the fuck out .

But me? I watched way too many nature documentaries. I read a lot.

So I just calmly drop my bag , and walk to the teacher , and in a very quiet voice announce that I have a snake on my arm.

The teacher flipped his shit so bad that the snake freaks and bites me , sending twelve other children into immediate horror. Twenty minutes , a shot of anti-venom, a really cool Spiderman bandaid , lots of fussing , and one hyperventilating teacher later, I go down in my school’s history as the girl who fears no snake.

I don’t even remember what type it was

But it was a really chill snake most of the time


Yeah so if you’ve gone camping you’ve probably been tricked into ‘snipe hunting ’ , which is just a game of looking for made up creatures in pitch dark .

Anyway I have glasses and can’t see for shit without them and I also have asthma , so running around in the mountains at night ? Death sentence tbh

This was like five years ago but I still remember it vividly .

So I’m at church camp with like 50 other girls ( oh the days when I was forcibly identified as female ) and at WTF O Clock at night , some of the older girls ( 17-19 ) wake up my tent full of sleepy teens. I’m the oldest in my tent at 17, so I’m skeptical as hell but also super easily duped because TIRED

Anyway the other girls tell us they heard scary noises in the woods so we all tumble out in pajamas with flashlights and one chick dragged along her body pillow of Sasuke Uchiha ( love you Jackie ) and we trailed into the woods like a group of doomed horror flick protagonists.

At some point someone screams , which freaks out anyone who’s even half awake , and we all just start booking it in the direction we think camp is.

My flashlight buddies ditched me early on so all I have to see by is a flimsy little glowstick. And I run right into a boulder , nearly breaking my leg.

It hurt like a bitch so I screamed , and suddenly all the others come running to me and soon I see that the boulder I ran into is all jagged, and that if I’d not tripped into it , I would have hit it with my face .

My right knee was a mess , and it took like a month to fully heal. I still have trouble with it sometimes if I’ve been on my feet too long.

- The first quicksand incident , in which thirteen year old me is traipsing through the woods hunting for a cool walking stick , and suddenly finds my foot sinking into a weird hole.

With a lot of swearing and effort , I rescue my foot but sacrifice a shoe.

( if anybody finds a single size five white sneaker in a forest in Utah , I want it back )


So I used to live in Utah , in an area prone to quakes. Most of em were tiny, but this one? Shook the house. Woke up and everything in the house was like blurry from the shakiness.

Anyway, at the time my bookcase was near my bed, and the bookcase just decided to collapse literally TWO SECONDS after I wake up , falling in a loud whump right where my head had been seconds before.

I don’t even know why I woke up but for once I was glad to be a restless sleeper

- That time I almost drank Poisonous Things

So my high school science teacher was a notorious prank fiend. He loved to spook us.

But one time my class decides to spok him.

He made a chemical mix that looked like soda , like Coca Cola , but was actually a mix of like eight separate deadly things ( including , I think, arsenic? Formaldehyde, for sure ) , and leaves it in a glass on one of the tables.

He leaves the room , and I come back in from the bathroom. I see what I assume is some poor fool’s unattended soda.

But of course this is the school’s most notorious prankster class, so I’m not immediately like ’ drink?“

Nah, I carefully take the cup with me to my seat , pull out a water balloon from my pocket ( don’t ask me why I, a nearly innocent teen, carried these) , stick it in my mouth , and lift the cup to my mouth at the same time I inhale . ( learned this trick in biology class actually , it’s great if you don’t know what’s in your drink! )

The water balloon catches the chemical mix , but that’s not what my class sees.

A horrified shriek , a frantic teacher , and a dumbfounded class of teens later, I am given a dubious award from my fellow students for being ” Batgirl levels of insane “ consisting of an actual soda and a small toy frog

I think my poor teacher almost had heart failure , sorry Mr Fullmer .

Anyway yeah I almost got killed by a prank 😂( like three times actually )

- That Time Winter Itself Tried To Off Me ( but for whyyyyyyy??? I am big fan? I love Toshiro Hitsugaya and Jack Frost? I love cold boys? )

Anyway I was 19 ( oh a recent near death experience , yayyyyyy) and had just been stood up. Which left me in a city I didn’t know , with no money and no place to crash for the weekend until my bus back showed up. So I’m stuck at the bus station , locked outside at night with my suitcase in freaking OCTOBER. I had no coat on because I had assumed I wouldn’t be in the outdoors very much .

So I’m there in a thin long sleeve shirt and jeans , and it’s raining. Which turns to sleet. Which turns to huge hail chunks . AND THEN AS IF I’VE ANGERED FATHER WINTER HIMSELF, A BLIZZARD ERUPTS

But it stays isolated to only the block I’m on.


And I’m stuck in this chaos for 4 hours , at one point trying to fit in my suitcase for shelter, and finally I’m able to get a ride back to my school ( I was in trade school at the time )

By the time my ride gets there, I am a block of human ice. I’d gotten hypothermia and minor frostbite and a wicked case of bronchitis.

So yeah….. There’s more but I just wanna sleep and try to forget that nature itself is against me tbh

To the Men who Want to Keep it Simple...

You’re respectful, playful and generally an all around fun guy.

You have many interests and it’s easy to be with you. You certainly aren’t new to the relationship scene; your 20s are behind you. Though you definitely want companionship, you clearly want nothing to do with commitment.

If you’re honest, you told her this upfront. It could be, however, that you didn’t realize this about yourself until you were in the thick of the relationship, and it went down more like this….

….whenever she talked about taking the relationship to the next level, you told her, “I just want it to be easy, fun, and light.”

….when she said, “What do you think about being exclusive?” You replied, “Why should we change anything? Things are great!”

….you finally admitted you never wanted to define the relationship as “long-term” or anything else for that matter, because you didn’t really know what you wanted in the future.

….she discovered you’re literally incapable of saying “I love you.”

….when it came to the point of feeling like there should be “something next,” such as living together or a proposal (you could tell she was expecting this), you got cold feet. The relationship became a never-ending disappointment to her, and she left. Or you ended it, not being able to disappoint her again.

….you told her in the beginning you’ve never met anyone like her and she’s absolutely “the one” for you. You made her feel like the most beautiful, amazing person in the in the universe, but in a few months you started singing a different tune. Not because you didn’t want to be with her, but you didn’t want it to be complicated.

If any of this sounds familiar, you can choose to do nothing and keep repeating the same pattern, or you can think about these options:

1. You can choose to live forevermore in solitude (unlikely if you enjoy companionship).

2. You can keep all your relationships casual (if this is your choice, please be honest of your intent with whomever you date —she deserves to know).

3. You can figure out why you fear commitment and break the pattern.

If option three is attractive to you, be prepared to do massive inner-work. This is not an overnight journey you’re about to embark on. This is where you search your soul until you come to terms with what’s holding you back. Your discomfort with commitment may stem from an event that occurred in your past that has become a roadblock to allowing yourself to open up and move deeper in relationships—such as a break up that left you a crumpled mess, either literally on the floor or at least on your insides.

If you’ve ever experienced gut-wrenching heartache, you know it’s one of the worst emotional experiences you can go through. It affects not only the heart, but mind and body as well, leaving no part of you untouched. It hurts deeply. To open your heart again and again takes courage, which means allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

She understands you’re scared, but she’s tired of dating you only to be disappointed. She knows you like the upside of relationships—the affection, laughing, enjoying each other’s company—but when shit gets real, you get nervous. Your mammalian instincts kick in and you fight or flee. That’s when you say things that make her no longer feel valued. Or, you leave her there, wondering what just happened. She thought you were on the same page and now she realizes you’re in different books.

Know this, you man who wants to keep it simple—it’s time you love yourself enough to accept a love that’s greater than what you’ve been willing to accept in the past.

You deserve more than easy, fun, and light.

You deserve a deep, extraordinary love that can only be found when you allow yourself to be open and vulnerable.

She needs you to man-up and open your heart for her. She wants to love you and be loved by you. She doesn’t want you to hold back or go hide in your blanket fort. She cannot promise you it’ll all work out and that your heart won’t be broken, but you won’t know until you push past the emotional discomfort. No risk, no reward.

Bob Marley said, “The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.” This from the man who also said, “If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy. …Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”

~ Celeste Shea

So after a rewatch I have come to a conclusion. 

Why was Lucas so tired and intent on going home during family game night? Why did he seem tired of all of the festivities, despite the fact that RIELY invited him and he SHOULD be over the moon happy? WHY is he then instead really out of it and just wanting to go home…

could it be that the reason he usually enjoys such annoyingly corny city behavior is not Riley? Could it be that the REAL reason he survived NYC was someone ELSE???

IF you’ll indulge me a moment my friends, allow me to explain. The one thing that was different about this escapade of our core four was that a certain someone was distracted. (Which is a giant understatement btw) because MAYA Penelope Heart was preoccupied the ENTIRE night with a certain Uncle Boing. Could it be that Lucas, who up until tonight has been used to being the focus of Maya’s banter and attention was feeling a little “left out.” 

The interesting thing about this feeling left out is the fact that he was ACTUALLY being showered by attention from Riley, who the ENTIRE episode was making a point to include her friends. That was the main conflict in this episode for pete’s sake! Yet somehow Lucas doesn’t feel quite right w/o his usual altercations with Maya. Could it be that Maya actually means a lot more to him than he is aware of? 

Because see, usually he enjoys Riley’s antics and finds them adorable but this “aww-ing” at Riley is ALSO usually done in sync with MAYA. Could it be that Lucas’s New York actually revolves around a  different person? Could it be that that person is MAYA??? I think yes. 

(Sidenote: The one time in this entire episode Maya does acknowledge Lucas’s existence is when he mentions his “mama” for the first time, and her only comment is to say “Mama?” questiongly with a weirded out expression on her face. Mind you this is season 1 so this is supposedly before Maya’s teasing started “getting” to Lucas, but rather than having a snappy come back for Maya as he’s ALWAYS had up until this point (remember in season one it was mostly continuous banter back and forth, and then seaosn 2 happened and it turned into Maya doing it MORE and Lucas steadily getting more and more bothered by it till we have the “Can I run” scene and THEN the campfire scene). BUT instead in THIS current moment his reaction is no witty come back but like smile-less-ly he turns to ahemJOSHahem and asks him what he call’s his Momma. WHY ask Josh????? HMMMM???? 

I’LL TELL YOU. It’s cuz our lil huckleberry is jealous!)

Our Generation… Written By An 8th Grader .