Before Leia dropped the “Princess”

I have to admit, when I was younger, I always hated Princess Leia (I knew nothing of Carrie Fisher, the person, until decades later so for me, at the outset, there was only Leia). Perhaps not the most popular idea right now, when so many women are coming out and citing her as their inspiration, their role model, the quintessential “non-princess”.  As her character evolved (and I grew older), my opinions of that character certainly changed for the better (particularly when she took out Jabba the Hut), but for a very long time the idea of Leia was tainted by how she was translated into real-life.

Princess Leis in her detention cell.

Post the release of Star Wars, this was the only subject on which all the kids in the neighborhood could agree to play.  Every group game became Star Wars, no more Cowboys and Indians, no more Firefighters and Forest fires, which was AWESOME for a while.  Everyone on the block had seen the movie (some had actually seen it TWICE, which was almost unheard of) so we all had a common world to build on.

Except for that annoying “Princess” thing.

In practical application, Leia got categorized with every other Princess (note the Capital “P”). Nobody remembered that she was the only one other than Han who could shoot straight.  Nobody remembered that she had kept her secrets under torture, that she was the one who stepped up to lead when Han and Luke’s half-baked rescue plan unraveled.  She had Princess in her name and that meant one thing only.

Whomever played her had to sit on the sidelines and wait until someone bothered with a rescue.

So for a very very long time, I HATED Princess Leia and would simply bow out of any game that involved her.  There was never a win to be had, I had to be Leia because I was the girl.  Fortunately, the boys in the neighborhood took the hint and we eventually agreed on an “invisible” Princess who would wait and do all the boring things until the game came back around to rescue-time (yeah, okay that may not have been a “better” solution per-se, but we were little and it solved the immediate problem).

I feel that a lot of people forget where the world was back in the 70’s when this film was first released.  That girls were still supposed to be “girly” and boys were supposed to be “heroes in training”.  The value (to me) in the Star Wars franchise, is not that they provided a strong female character to identify with in science fiction, because at the outset they didn’t, not in real concrete terms.  Instead over time that character evolved.  The writers and showrunners learned and grew and took a character that was supposed to be a slightly more exciting Girl in a Tower and turned her into force to be reckoned with.

 

Pocket Recipes for the Pokémon Trainer – Pidgey

Pocket Recipes for the Pokémon Trainer
Kanto District:

So you’ve gone and done it. You’ve cast off the chains of your middle-school and have set out to become a Pokémon Trainer. Good for you! The open road, new and exciting creatures to discover and conquer. It’s going to be just like camping, except Dad’s not there to carry the cooler. And as jobs go, hunting Pokémon doesn’t really pay very well. But that’s okay, right? You can live off the land, collecting berries and making your own fabulous meals over the campfire. I thought so! So to help you on your way, we’re bringing you the best in Pokémon camping cuisine. Each recipe is easy to make (provided you’ve captured the right Pokémon, of course) and is tailored to the regions those Pokémon come from, so ingredients should be easy to find.

 

The Pidgey

 

Shōyu de Poppo

8 Pidgey (bone-in, skin on, split)
I know, it seems like a lot for just one person, but the little f*ckers are everywhere. You can bag a dozen per day if you have enough pokéballs. In their first evolution, they are pretty small, so you want to cook as many as you can fit in the pan.

1 cup of water
It’s clever, isn’t it? Pidgey is known for hunting over water (especially Magikarp, which explains why Gyarados are just so hard to find, the Pigey’s eat ‘em all before they can evolve!)

½ cup razz berry vinegar
If you’re still young enough to enjoy Pokémon Go, you may not yet have a bottle of this in your kit. Hip up a Pokéstop, they’re bound to have some to hand. Trust me, this makes everything taste good, they even put it on ice cream.

1/3 cup soy sauce
That’s about 25 soy sauce packets if you’re swiping them from your local Panda Express.

2 ½ Tablespoons sugar
About 8 sugar packets if, like me, you snag a couple extra when buying your morning latte.

1 Figy, split and the seeds removed.
Just remember, like the habaneros you find in the supermarket, it’s the seeds of the Figy that pack the real punch!

Put all the ingredients (except the Pidgey) into a saucepan and boil it for about 20 minutes. Add the Pidgey and cook, turning frequently until the liquid has been reduced to a sticky glaze.

Arrange on a serving platter (we may be camping, but we’re not savages!) and spoon the remaining glaze over the Pidgey before serving.

If you are going with a later evolution, you can feed a couple of people with just a single Pidgeotto, and if you are truly lucky and have managed to bag a Pidgiot, well you’ll need to quintuple this recipe and call the whole family to enjoy!

Public Speaking at the IGDA

I was invited to give a talk to the IGDA in partnership with DAGA in Salt Lake City a couple of months ago. Had a wonderful time! They were kind enough to record my talk (I do a lot of talks, but I don’t always get to see how they turned out from the audience perspective, so this is especially cool for me).

Check it out!

Back when I started, there was no clear path into the games industry. You got there by asking around, talking to people, finding ads in the back of local newspapers, showing up for a night of tabletop gaming with the right group of people. While the idea of working in games has become mainstream over the past few decade, I find that a lot of students still think of it as a rather monolithic entity. They get hung up on the idea of having the *perfect* skill for this job or that job, where the reality is, there are a LOT of different niches in games and, if you have spent the time to develop skills that apply, even if you don’t have a degree, you have a chance to find a home here.