Sunday, January 22, 2012


I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim lately and as most of you probably know it has been receiving rave reviews from pretty much everybody. Although this game is good, great even, and has many fine points I’m going to instead quibble over all the minor details that moderately irritate me.

Gold is Meaningless
It is so easy to accumulate wealth in this game that it makes me wonder how any of the NPCs in Skyrim can possibly be poor. I have so much money that I’ve pretty much stopped looting dungeons and if I can throw money at a problem to make it go away then I’ll be sure to do it, because I actually don’t know what else to do with it. The only other thing I use it for is to buy arrows from vendors so I can sell more loot to them (what little I bother to take). On that note, I find it annoying that vendors have a limited amount of money. The Elder Scrolls is about the only RPG series I can think of where merchants run out of gold which is just another reason to never loot unless you want to travel to every shop in the province so you sell all your crap. Now when I find a valuable magical sword worth thousands of dollars I think to myself, “this is more hassle than its worth” and just leave it lying there.

Dragon Fights Get Old after a While
The first few times you fight a dragon it’s pretty tense and exciting, but once you figure out how to take care of them it quickly becomes repetitive and annoying. For the most part, fighting a dragon follows this pattern: hide from its fire, shoot it with an arrow, it flies into the air, wait for it to land, rinse and repeat. For what is supposed to be an epic experience, a surprising amount of dragon fights is spent doing nothing. I’ve gotten rather tired of fighting them now so whenever one appears over the countryside to harass me, I either ignore it and continue on my merry way, or if that fails then reload from the nearest save and go do something else.

Buggy Quests
I currently have four quests in my journal that are impossible for me to hand in, and five quest items that I have no way to dispose of. It clutters up space in my log and inventory and even though it has no effect on gameplay (other than some of the quest items weighing me down), it still bothers me for some reason. It’s just one of those things that you expect would have been fixed before release.

Sneaking is Weird
I always make a sneaky character in Elder Scrolls games and it’s often a somewhat overpowered mechanic that let’s you to get one-hit kills without any risk to your own body. Skyrim seems to have struck a weird balance where it is either obscenely powerful or sort of useless. My sneak is high enough that I can actually land on top of a person’s head and they still won’t notice me. But once I shoot an arrow at that person and kill him instantly, then suddenly all of his friends in a five mile radius will know exactly where I am and come running. And that’s why invisibility is great.

The Circle of Crafting
There are three crafting skills in Skyrim: alchemy, enchanting, and smithing. If you put your mind to it then you can combine the three to make absurdly powerful weapons and armor. First make a potion to buff your enchanting, then enchanting an item to buff alchemy, then wear that item and make another, stronger potion to buff enchanting. Do this back and forth until you reach the desired level of overpoweredness. Then enchant as much apparel as you can to buff smithing and make a potion of smithing. Put on the apparel and drink the potion then create a bow that does insane amounts of damage. Congratulations, you beat Skyrim.

Magic Horses
I don’t really dislike how horses can climb up even the steepest mountains with ease. In fact, I find it incredibly useful seeing as how my character can barely climb up a hill, but that doesn’t stop it from being rather strange and a little bit glitchy. Of course, though getting up is easy, getting the horse down the mountain will almost certainly spell death for the poor creature who all of a sudden can’t find his footing. Strangely, my character has no problem at all climbing down mountains, so now I’ve developed a strategy where I take my horse to the top, dismount, climb down the other side, then meet up with him again when I map travel. It’s very convenient.

Laughable Traps
One thing the developers put into their dungeons in what I’m assuming was an attempt to make them more challenging were a variety of booby traps. This includes tumbling boulders, swinging axes, fire floors, and poison darts. I don’t give a shit about any of them and will sometimes deliberately stand in them just for laughs. They do a pitiful amount of damage. If I see that a chest or door is trapped, I say “fuck it” and open it anyway because the worst that will happen is absolutely nothing.

Fetch Quests
I remember when I played Oblivion, being impressed by the amount of what I thought were original and exciting quests. I remember stealing an Elder Scroll, going inside a painting, slowly murdering all the guests at a party, and making it rain burning dogs and loving every minute of it. Although Skyrim definitely has many more quests, there are very few that stick out in my mind. The majority of them boil down to “go to x dungeon and bring back y item,” though some will have you kill a guy instead. Some people will simply send you to deliver an item to a guy next door, which though easy money is kind of insulting to the value of my character. So far the only quests that really impressed me are the daedric ones, but I still need to play through the main storyline so I’m hopeful that this may change.

Bonus points to whoever describes their favorite bug in a video game.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

BGC Membership

Since I got bored of waiting for Daniel to make an official website to do this, I just decided to put it up here. Enjoy.

Name: Tristan Harris Rank: President Stance on Friendship: Loves

Tristan possesses a startling natural intelligence, but makes up for it by having almost no ambition whatsoever, and is consequently going nowhere. For this reason we gave him the presidency so he feels like his life has meaning. That and because he has all the board games. In fact, that’s about the only reason why he ever gets invited out to anything as he’s kind of an asshole in almost every other regard. If he didn’t own the games (or somebody else also had them) then there’d be no reason for him to leave his house, and he’d just spend all free time alone playing TF2.

Name: Joanna Chan Rank: Lord Commander of the Night's Watch
Stance on Friendship: Loves

Our newly appointed Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Joanna, has done a stellar job doing the job of the vice-president/treasurer and is essentially second-in-command. Originally, we just made up the position because is sounded cool and it didn't come with any  real duties, responsibilities, or privileges. Since then, Joanna has proven adept at organizing pizza parties and bringing juice so we have expanded her role. Joanna spends most of her time being friendly, treating fiction as though it’s real life, and secretly plotting to steal the presidency. She also doesn’t like it when you walk on carpets with your shoes on, so be sure to do that all the time when she’s around.

Name: Joyce Ngu Rank: Treasurer Stance on Friendship: Loves

Sometimes we like to play a drinking game in the club where we try to think of something Joyce isn’t afraid of. If she’s afraid of it then you have to drink. If she’s not afraid of it then everybody else has to drink. So far, the latter situation has yet to occur. Things we have learned that scare her includes, but is not limited to: thunder, rain, zombies, being the center of attention, things pertaining to sex, and the critically acclaimed film, The Descendants. With the help of her friends however, Joyce is slowly conquering her fears and we’re hopeful that one day soon she’ll be able to leave her bedroom.

Name: Zach Cochrane Rank: Secretary Stance on Friendship: Loves

If you want to get anything done in the club, Zach is the guy you should talk to. He sends out the emails, books the rooms, reserves TVs, and handles the grant money. Despite his aptitude for the practical things in life, Zach is surprisingly clueless when it comes to street smarts. For the longest time he thought 4/20 was a gang and his knowledge of sexual terminology and euphemisms is hilariously low. This coupled with his crippling inability to form his sentences properly has led to some pretty fantastic quotes which you can learn all about when you come to the club.

Name: Michelle Tran Rank: Vice-President Stance on Friendship: Hates

You might not want to say this to her face, but Michelle is a bit of a hipster. She’ll never admit it, but all of the evidence points to her being if not a hipster, then the closest thing to a hipster currently in BGC. She has a fondness for clothing from or to do with 80’s, has been known to make finger mustaches, and has attended a music festival in the hipster capital of BC (also the capital of BC), Victoria. And this is just scraping the surface of all the evidence we’ve accumulated over the years. Her other hobbies include bailing on friends and then lying about it, sacrificing her life to League of Legends, and being tired/half-dead most of the time.

Name: Brendan Lee Rank: Assistant to the Regional Manager Stance on Friendship: Hates

Brendan is one of our most devoted members who attends almost all of our meetings and events, and is always up for playing video games with you outside of the club. Despite this, Brendan hates you and everybody and everything with a passion (except for Dominion). He yells and swears at everything, and the only tone of voice he knows is bitchy. I think we’re all still technically friends with him, because he deigns to hang out with us, though he makes me wonder how he treats those he dislikes. On an unrelated note, he has a fascination with guns so it’s probably best to stay on his good side.

Name: Damian Craig Rank: External Relations Officer Stance on Friendship: Loves

There are few who can claim to be as kingly or as tall as Damian. He’s appeared in our student newspaper on three separate occasions and doesn’t even go to SFU. He can pull off both a kilt and a bowtie and receive nothing but compliments. He worked at Disneyworld as a lifeguard and saved the lives of half-wit children on a daily basis. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Damian is a pretty cool guy. His only real fault is his terrible taste in movies. In his opinion, Juno sucks and Sex Drive is awesome. I guess it just goes to show that nobody’s perfect.

Name: Dana Robelle Rank: Official Photographer Stance on Friendship:Loves

There are two things that Dana likes: taking pictures and shoes/feet. Whenever she takes a picture of shoes or feet… well let’s just say it makes her happy. When Dana’s around you can be sure that she’s taking pictures or recording almost everything with her camera regardless of how uninteresting it may be. If you’re hiding from the mob or some other organization, then I’d advise you to stay well away from her. Speaking from personal experience, it’s also a bad idea to say embarrassing or incriminating things in her presence.

Name: Eddy Ha Rank: Member? Stance on Friendship: Hates

BGC members discount the existence of Eddy Ha and consider him to be a combination of folklore, misidentification and hoax, rather than a living person in part because nobody has seen him in such a long time, or in fact has any recollection of his existence beyond a few blurry photographs. A few members such as Michelle Tran and Aleck Pham, have expressed interest and belief in the creature, with Pham expressing the opinion that evidence collected of alleged Eddy Ha encounters warrants further evaluation and testing. Eddy Ha remains one of the more famous examples of an imaginary person, and an enduring legend.

Name: David Stocks Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

David is American, but more importantly, David has a majestic beard. Those are really the only two things you really need to know about David, but there are other things about him that you may find interesting about him. He likes to match up his shoes and socks in fun ways. He often really gets into board games and will yell at you if you start making retarded moves. He also has a very unique laugh. But mostly the beard.

Name: Justin Chow Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates

When Justin is in the room the usage of the word “penis” and its synonyms increases by at least 500%. His vocabulary is pretty much limited to those words and laughter which led us all to believe that he was mentally handicapped. Because we’re a rather insensitive bunch, we gave him a hard time for his retardation and so he moved all the way to Penticton to be as far away from us as possible (also for co-op). Since then, it’s certainly been a lot quieter at BGC. At times we wish he’d come back, but then one time he did, took a sip of beer, and lost even that little ability he had to control himself. It was a memorable night, but also deeply humiliating for all involved.

Name: Lily Sung Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates

Now I’m not saying Lily is the most twisted and depraved of all our members, but behind that bright smile lurks something… darker. She is almost always peppy and upbeat especially when faced with images of death, gore, and blood. Her eyes are pregnant with malice and to look into them is to see the true face of despair. Her mere presence fills one with forebodings of doom that cannot be shaken. Whatever her plans for the future are, they can only mean total darkness for all mankind. None of us are safe!

Name: Aleck Pham Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

Aleck is the life of the party and everybody enjoys his company, but sadly he doesn’t really care about any of us. Sure, he’ll make an appearance and tell a few jokes, but then he has to move on to some other party at some other inferior club. He’s like that boyfriend who you know has other girls on the side, but you stick with him anyway, latch onto him even, and relish any attention he gives you. For his part, he knows you’ll always be there for him when he needs you so he doesn’t feel the need to treat you special. Meanwhile, the BGC cries itself to sleep every night wishing he were there to cuddle with.

Name: Kerry Woodrow Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves

I would normally spend time making fun of Kerry here and poking fun at his weaknesses, but I won’t for two reasons. Firstly, because Kerry is the DM for my D&D group and can thus do horrible things to my character, and secondly, because Kerry is such a swell guy who is as perfect as a human being can get. Yep, that Kerry such is cool. We should all go to Gamedeals right now, buy up everything they have in stock, and say that Kerry sent us. Please give me a better battleaxe.

Name: Himmy Choy Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

Nobody asked who the strange man was in the blue scrubs and the paper mask when he first showed up to one of our meetings. Nobody questioned why he pranced around like a lunatic chanting in a high pitched voice. When he revealed his name to be Himmy nobody inquired as to what kind of name is that. And certainly nobody demanded to know why he was a carrying a bloody knife around with him. Since that fateful day Himmy appears fairly consistently to taunt us and play Dominion, and has even claimed one of our members for his own. She did not put up much resistance.

Name: Mike Fournier Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves

Mike’s primary function in the BGC is to tell us about good restaurants in the area we can eat at after we’re done playing games. Normally he leads us to good eats, but on occasion we also end up at a place like Mexican Chicken Hof. To be fair, it was an experience albeit in the same way that explosive diarrhea is an experience, but it makes for a good story to tell nonetheless. But for every one of those we get ten peanut butter pies so Mike still comes out on top in the end.

Name: Morgan Fells Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

Morgan has a board game collection which I am fairly certain exceeds even my own. Every week he shows up with something new and fun to play and we always look forward to his arrival. I think he’s just happy to have somebody to play all his games with besides his wife which is probably the main reason why he comes. As you may have garnered from the fact that he has a wife, Morgan is one of our oldest members and as such we generally refer to him as "The Decrepit One” and you should all do likewise. He LOVES it.

Name: Tin Ma Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

If you like your men surly, nerdy, and potentially mentally disturbed then you’ll love Tin who is all of that and more. He comes with all the bells and whistles including muttering under his breath and uncontrollable fits of rage. As an added bonus if you ever get tired of him the way he is then just liquor him up a bit and he’ll magically transform into his complete opposite right before your very eyes. Tin is quite a catch ladies and supplies are limited so order now before it’s too late!

Name: Tian Hu Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

What Tian lacks in thoughtfulness and intelligence he more than makes up for in being unnecessarily loud. There are countless stories of how Tian fails epically at the games we play, but my favourite has to be the time he scored zero points in Dominion and there is talk that he may have exaggerated his score. To put that in perspective, you start Dominion with three points. Then there was the memorable game of Werewolves where he didn’t clue in that all the werewolves were girls even though it was pretty much stated outright. Regardless of what game Tian is losing at, you can be certain that you’ll wish you had earplugs.

Name: Arthur Strongbody Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves

You’ll be hard-pressed to find somebody friendlier than Arthur. I don’t think I’ve heard him say one bad thing about anybody or even swear. He’s just an all-around nice guy. Consequently, he doesn’t come around to BGC that often because we’re all horrible, horrible people who strive to corrupt to your soul. One day we shall claim him for our demon king. He cannot escape our grasp forever. Until then, run and hide Arthur. Run and hide, but know that we’ll come for you when you least expect it.

Name: Andrew Jatzkowski Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates

When you first meet Andrew you’ll probably think he’s a fairly decent person, but know this: it is all lies. He is guilty of the crime of breaking the sacred covenant of Secret Santa. The only way to atone for such a heinous transgression is to bring food to BGC at some point for all to share. Until that day I name him beast and will say no more!

Name: Marcus Carreira Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves

Marcus is one of those people who will appear when you least expect them to and he's not even a stalker. Walking around New Westminster: Marcus is there. Going to the grocery store: Marcus is there. Sitting in your bedroom: Marcus is there. Thankfully, Marcus also appears when you do expect him to (such as at BGC and BGC related events) and will play games intelligently which is a lot more than most of the people on this list can say.

Name: Jonathan Doyle Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Loves

Jon, or Baby Doyle as we like to call him, being the youngest member in BGC is inconveniently under the drinking age. On the bright side, he is also the future of the BGC as the current executive grows older/closer to graduating. On second thought that's more of a dark side so let's forget what I just said and pretend that the real world doesn't exist.

Name: Cherie Shea Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Hates

Cherie is our most marginalized member in that every photograph she is in she is standing off to one side and is never at the center. We're not entirely certain why this is. Perhaps it is due to the bias of our official photographer. My theory is that Cherie prefers to watch from the sidelines, biding her time, waiting until we are most complacent before striking. I am terrified of her.

Name: Aries Li Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

Rather than talking about how Aries is as a person I want to talk about how he looks like an old, angry, Asian dad in that photo. You can tell he's berating the other players over the importance of wheat to a strong colony or some other such point. A lot of it is in his scrunched up face, but the real kicker is the single, outraged finger waggling in the air. He commands everyone's attention except Kevin who, as per usual, doesn't give a shit.

Name: Rob Tan Rank: Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

This is pretty much the only photographic evidence I could find that Rob ever attended a BGC meeting and he's not even looking at the camera and the focus is on Damian (as is required by law). Despite this lack of picture proof, I know that Rob shows up frequently and I cannot help but admire his skill at dodging Dana's camera. I'm not sure how he does it, but I'm going to assume its some sort of black magic.

Name: Taylor Laan Rank: Ex-Treasurer Stance on Friendship: Hates

Taylor was our treasurer for the first 5 semesters or so of BGC, yet the only work he ever did in that capacity was to occasionally threaten to embezzle money. The fact that he’s retained this position for two and a half years is a sign of just how apathetic we are as a club. I’m pretty sure he’s been carried this far on his smile alone. He won’t hesitate to backstab you in a game, but then he’ll grin at you and you’ll forget why you were mad at him in the first place. He'll appear all happy and friendly on the outside, but don't be fooled; on the inside he is secretly plotting your gruesome death.

Name: Jenerika Csanyi Rank: Ex-VP/Member Stance on Friendship: Indifferent

Jennifer and Erika (or Jenerika as we affectionately call them) are identical twins. One of them was our vice-president, but we’re still not certain which it is. Despite their physical similarities, their personalities are almost exactly the same. They’re both unapologetic weeaboos, share the same little quirks (like putting question marks at the end of sentences that aren’t questions?), and like facial hair. The only real difference is that one of them hates friendship and the other one loves it. Together they cancel out and are indifferent.

Name: Kevin Rey Rank: Ex-VP Stance on Friendship: Hates

I’ve known Kevin for many years and I think it’s safe to say that no one shall ever surpass him in creativity for coming up with excuses to ditch his friends. Some of his more notable reasons include: eating dinner with his parents, band camp, bible camp, regattas, having a girlfriend, saxophone shopping, and “I was going to come over but then after dinner we ended up at Maddie’s house, you know Maddie right? Anyway we went there and we were having a good time and talking and stuff and you know what guys? You know what guys? I am really tired.” I think that last one succinctly summarizes both his hatred of friendship and his roundabout way of accomplishing nothing. Kevin is a special person and I’m glad to count him amoung my friends.

Name: Daniel Bowes Rank: Ex-VP Stance on Friendship: Hates

The above photo is no mistake. Daniel is a bucket of chicken grease and dirty napkins. No matter what he does or how hard he tries, Daniel always manages to ruin everything. My goal in life is to be best man at Daniel’s wedding just so I can tell the assembled family and friends what a horrible person he is. If that fails then I hope to outlive him so I can give the eulogy at his funeral. I’m not going to explain why’s he’s the worst. He knows why, and all that matters is that you don’t give him any respect.