A Ridiculous Internship

I haven’t posted in a while so I figured I’d talk about this. I always like telling this story but it’s way too long for microblogging so I’m glad I have a place I can finally post it in its entirety.

So in 2017 I graduated from university. I took three months off where I didn’t do anything and just vegged out and played videogames. Eventually I needed to find work. I started by applying for stuff way out of my experience levels because I figured carrying myself with the confidence of a mediocre white dude would get me somewhere. Turns out it didn’t, and I had to start lowering my expectations.

After over 200 applications, I found an internship for a software company in Denver. It looked like what I was hoping to do as a job and had a little bit of money, and I had to start somewhere, so I applied. Less than twenty minutes later I got a LinkedIn Message (ugh, I know) asking me to come to the office to see them tomorrow.

The next day I went to see them. It turned out they didn’t actually have an “office.” They worked in one of those open-plan, shared spaces, where annoying startups pay for overpriced small rooms in a gentrification-in-progress neighborhood so they can go to work with their dogs and drink shitty coffee. I had come in a suit, which they made fun of me for. This was pretty annoying because I’m black, and I knew if I dressed in sweatpants as they had I would be criticized for being too casual.

They asked me a few questions, and how “committed” I was to the job. There was a lot of business philosophy talk, and how revolutionary the app they were making was going to be. I felt like I was being talked down to the whole time. In retrospect, those should have been warning signs, but I was desperate and couldn’t afford self-respect, so I let them prattle on and, suitably impressed by my ability to nod and smile, they welcomed me aboard.

This was the beginning of the end.

God…there are so many stories I could tell. I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess first would be my dress. I was constantly ridiculed for wearing dress shirts and pants and looking relatively presentable. Besides the race aspect I mentioned above, it’s also worth noting that I like dressing well, regardless of what’s going on that day, so that always bothered me. They’d also make fun of me for bringing my own lunch, which was a level of weirdly elitist that I wasn’t expecting.

My work was boring as well. I was basically turned into a corporate PR machine, forced to plug 3 articles into a twitter account that bought bot followers and was followed by bots. Nothing I did was worthwhile or interesting, and my boss was looking over my shoulder 24/7.

I was constantly told I’d get more work to do and become a more integral part of the product we were creating, but that never actually happened. Not to say that I wanted those things, I could not have cared less about the product, but I needed experience so I could feed myself and pay rent. Instead, I was given more and more menial tasks that had zero impact, or planned projects that went nowhere.

Speaking of. My boss. He was 19. I came to learn he was the head boss’ son in law. His daughter-in-law “worked” there as well – I used quotes because she was just there to puff her resume while she was in school. She was paid more than me, because of course she was.

There was also a cool designer that I hung out with most often. He had worked at ESPN before and wanted to try something smaller. It wasn’t worth it, as he’d soon find out.

The head boss was literally a lecherous old man. He was a constant stream of sexist remarks about people around the open office, and once used the n-word to describe a group of black people who were standing outside the window. He drank during the day and was extremely unfocused. I’d get work from him, do it, be told it was wrong, and then give it back to him unchanged and have it accepted.

My son-in-law boss was the biggest piece of work. He had extremely bad anger problems and they manifested themselves at work. What got me close to quitting at first was one of his bigger outbursts. He constantly clashed with the head boss – who, admittedly, egged him on with his attitude – and during a meeting on the product’s direction, he really snapped. Literal screaming, throwing markers and whiteboards, the works. What was most worrying is how…normalized it was, I guess you could say? When this first freak out happened, the designer just walked out of the office for a smoke. I followed him out and he told me that this was the fourth outburst he had in the time that he had started working there. Apparently, they had gotten complaints from the building.

But it gets better. After this outburst, he met with each of us one by one to apologize. I sort of glazed through his apology, but one part stuck out to me.

“You know if you anything you need to talk about, I’m HR, and [Wife’s Name] is HR, so you can come to us.

E…excuse me? My Boss is also my HR? My Boss’ wife is HR? To be fair, at least they were honest about HR as a concept being a bunch of bullshit, but still! The designer was the only person I could talk to with any sense of confidentiality! It was something I noticed often with engineers as a whole: they felt like they could do everything. Who needs copywriters? Who needs an HR department? We can do math, of course we can do that!

Eventually, that designer left. He wanted to use the product for more altruistic things, which didn’t align with our investor’s goals (those goals being: money). After pitching the idea and getting a no, he quit. I got his email address before he left – which is great, because he got to be my reference for the internship, haha.

I wasn’t far behind. The second outburst my boss had was even worse than the first. He broke another whiteboard, screamed even louder, mentioned that “every new employee leaves because of you!” to the head boss, and had his wife running out of the office in sobbing tears. I had enough. It was too similar to the abusive living situation that I had been in before, and I wasn’t going to take it at work too. I walked out of the building, got in my car, drove away, and never went back.

You’d think that’d be where it ended. You’re wrong! They didn’t even think I had quit! I got a few emails asking how my work was going from home. I had queued up everything I needed to do for two or three weeks, so it looked like I was still working when in reality I was knee-deep in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. After a few days they finally got the hint and left me alone.

It turns out that even I have limits. Honestly even though it was a ridiculous situation, I don’t entirely regret it. It’s a great story for parties.

Some things aren’t worth it, even for money!!!

A Fashion Critique of Dresspheres in Final Fantasy X-2

Final Fantasy X-2 is a weird, pop-infused sequel to Final Fantasy X, where Yuna and her gal-pals (read: poly-lesbian super squad) travel around Spira and have weird adventures that would be side-quests in any other Final Fantasy game.

But none of that really matters! No, what matters most in X-2 are the Dresspheres, the Jobs of other Final Fantasy titles. They’re the most exciting part of X-2, where Yuna, Rikku and Paine change between different outfits in fun Magical Girl-esque transformations in the middle of battle to use different abilities.

But the question that’s never been asked (or maybe it has, I don’t know): how good do these Dresspheres look? Today we’re going to get an answer.

The Rules:

Yuna, Rikku and Paine each get a rating on a 10 point scale. We’re ignoring the special dresspheres, sorry.

Let’s get started!


Yuna: This is her “default” outfit in game, and it does general justice? I normally wouldn’t be into the tattered chest, but it forms into her symbol so she gets bonus points instead. Functional, but fashionable. Not sure about that half-skirt, though.

Score: 8

Rikku: Those boots really don’t work with the pants, I’m sorry. Same half-skirt but in yellow? Nope. It’s not as bad as some of her other outfits though, so she gets some pity points.

Score: 6

Paine: She has a pirate-vibe going on, which I dig. She was also smart enough to not make her half-skirt so long, which gives her bonus points. Colors are good. Only thing keeping this from a perfect score is the completely unnecessary exposed midriff that looks like it was cut out of a cheese grater.

Score: 9


Yuna: I’m not fond of this dressphere in general, and think it looks bad on everyone. Of the three, though, Yuna pulls it off best. Strong colors and a cool skirt.

Score: 7

Rikku: It’s her default, so a bit of thought was put into it. The yellow actually works in her favor for once! But the dreads get a hard, hard pass.

Score: 6

Paine: Girl what is you doing. The heels. The weird thong-thing…just, no.

Score: 4


Yuna: What is it with this game and cheese-grate midriffs? If this shirt was fully formed the whole outfit would be a 10. As it stands, I must take points off, but then add points back on because posing like Tidus and using Brotherhood is a nice touch. Though I wonder how Wakka feels about that, to be honest.

Score: 7

Rikku: She actually does alright here! The colors are nice, and using Auron’s sword is cool. Not sure about the boots, but we’re going to give Rikku the wins when she can get them.

Score: 9

Paine: If this were anyone else it’d be a hard pass. But Paine is just emo enough to pull this look off. None of it makes any sense and I love every bit of it.

Score: 10


Yuna: This is actually one of my favorite outfits of hers. It feels the most like something a human might wear in real life or during a performance, which is more than I can say for most of these outfits. That shade of blue is perfect!

Score: 10

Rikku: She looks like a teen idol that immediately lost popularity halfway through her career.

Score: 7

Paine: What? What is this? Did she dig up Elvis’ corpse, take his outfit, and then somehow manage to make it worse? I’m literally losing oxygen right now.

Score: 3

Black Mage

Yuna: Killed it.

Score: 10

Rikku: Killed it.

Score: 10

Paine: Killed it.

Score: 10

White Mage

Yuna: It’s so…safe. I feel nothing looking at this.

Score: 5

Rikku: Why did she make her cuffs look like the flaming dragon shirts I wore in middle school.

Score: 4

Paine: Now this is what I’m talking about! Paine took the White Mage and made it punk. I am in awe. It’s crazy how much of a difference taking your hood off makes.

Score: 9

Gun Mage

Yuna: I dig the purple, and the necklace is great. Still very much unsure about these half-skirts, however. And I’m worried about those little…screws? Is your dress nailed in, Yuna? How do you get out? Are you okay??

Score: 7

Rikku: Gonna need you think twice about those stockings, sorry.

Score: 6

Paine: This was SO CLOSE to being perfect. But the checkered pants just throw the entire thing off. I can’t stop staring at them. They’re bad.

Score: 8

Lady Luck

Yuna: I’m feeling everything in this outfit except for the gloves. The crown is a nice touch.

Score: 8

Rikku: Remember when I said most of Rikku’s outfits were bad? Yeah. I’m sorry they made yellow your primary color, Rikku. You got done dirty.

Score: 4

Paine: Paine walked into a crowded casino with a cigarette and is going to take all your money. And you’re going to love every second of it.

Score: 9


Yuna: Finally, Yuna’s half-skirt shortens (even though it’s still half a skirt, which still makes it weird). Normally I wouldn’t be into big shoulder pads, but the look actually works here.

Score: 7

Rikku: Holy crap, another good Rikku outfit! I’m getting strong Samus vibes, here, and that’s a good thing.

Score: 8

Paine: The weird vertical straps throw everything off. Also, purple and orange are not a winning combination.

Score: 5


Yuna: She looks like she’d get on your MySpace page and give you the ole’ “rawr XD” combo. But I guess it works? Maybe on a system with more polygons it could do more. The fur is good though.

Score: 7

Rikku: Just…why…

Score: 2

Paine: She looks like she came out of the CGI Beastwars TV show from ’96. I mean this mostly in a good way. The colors clash but those horns are just chef’s kiss.

Score: 7


Yuna: Yuna goes the 100% traditional route here. Not too flashy, but it gets the job done.

Score: 7

Rikku: I actually really dig this outfit! The skirt is bomb, it’s practical while still having that Rikku flair, and the helmet is great.

Score: 9

Paine: Not gonna lie…don’t really know what’s going on here. The pants look like 80s dancer rejects, and the giant buttons on the sleeves make her look like an old-fashioned toy from the 60s. That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.

Score: 5

Dark Knight

Yuna: This is almost a ten, I’m just not sure about that clown/pirate hat hybrid. Everything else comes together well, though.

Score: 9

Rikku: I love my spiky unicorn girl. This is also one of those instances where the yellow is turned down a bit, which gives it bonus points as well.

Score: 9

Paine: This isn’t just emo…this is…advanced emo…

Score: 10



Score: 0

And that’s all of them! I hope you enjoyed this fashion walkthrough. Just for fun, let’s see how the points total up:

Yuna: 92

Rikku: 82

Paine: 89

Thanks for reading. No, seriously, thank you, I can’t believe you got this far.

Embracing Failure: An Ode to Celeste

This piece contains spoilers for Celeste’s ending!

I am a quitter.

If you’ve known me for more than five minutes, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise. I’ve quit personal projects because I didn’t feel they were good enough. I’ve quit jobs because I thought I wasn’t good enough for them. I’ve quit classes I’ve found too difficult. I quit working at RPGFan, a place I’m fond of, because I was worried the people there didn’t like me. I just dropped them all.

It feels good to quit things. To know that I was right, that something wasn’t worth doing, or confirming that I wasn’t good enough to do it. Quitting comes naturally to me. It soothes the part of me that wants me to be safe. The part that stops me from getting hurt, to stay cozy in a bubble of comfort and familiarity.

The characters in Celeste know how I feel. Madeline, the game’s protagonist, wants to climb the titular Celeste Mountain to prove something to herself, in spite of herself. It is revealed early on in the game that Madeline has depression, anxiety, and experiences panic attacks. She wants to accomplish something, anything, and so heads to the mountain to reach its summit.

It isn’t easy. Celeste is a game that demands pixel-perfect platforming precision. You will die. A lot. You’ll die on nearly every single screen at least once, in some spots 30 or 40 or 50 times, depending on your skill level. Every death will be your fault. Celeste controls perfectly. Your jump and air dash are the only tools at your disposal, and you will be tested and pushed to the limit to use both on every screen.

The way I describe Celeste’s mechanics make them sound antagonistic, a Super Meat Boy-esque escapade where every death causes you to inch one step closer to throwing your controller across the room. But that’s not the case. Celeste challenges you, but the way it does so is encouraging as opposed to aggressive. Loading screens send you post cards with uplifting messages: “Every loss means you’re learning!” There’s a forgiving Assist Mode that allows you to progress through the game even if you’re not fast or technical or have a strong grasp on the controller. And the music is soothing, energetic without being overbearing.

Celeste is a warm cup of hot chocolate on a winter day. It is a game that allows you to take each screen one step at a time, and encourages you to keep trying. And because of that, I didn’t want to quit, even at the game’s most difficult.

The way Celeste blends the message of its narrative with the mechanics at play is wonderful. Madeline’s anxiety and depression are made manifest in her “Other Half,” a dark-palleted version of the girl that serves as her antagonist for the majority of the game. Madeline’s Other Half taunts her, goads her into focusing on her failures, and — most importantly — tries to convince her to quit climbing Celeste Mountain.

As the story progresses, Madeline starts by wishing that Other Half would go away. But she eventually attempts to understand the motives and reasoning of her Other Half. She realizes that this voice in her head is one that’s trying to protect her from the sting of failure. Why hurt yourself when you can just…quit? The Other Half is trying to help in the only way it knows how, and this clash of feelings nearly throws Madeline off the mountain.

Near the game’s end, Madeline reconciles with her Other Half, and a heartwarming conversation ensues about the fear of failure, and allowing yourself to work past that risk to achieve something great. And it is here where Celeste allows its mechanics to weave itself into its narrative in an uplifting way — literally. Madeline’s acceptance of her Other Half allows her to air dash twice, and partner with the dark part of herself to launch into the air. The challenges ramp up even more as you make a final dash towards the summit, but at this point, you feel as if nothing can stop you. You’re going to get to the top of that mountain.

I didn’t want to quit Celeste. And because of Celeste, I don’t want to quit, period. It is a beautiful game that plays to its strengths in order to remind you that you are better than you think you are, and that you can accomplish more than you think you can. That anxious, scared voice inside of your head should be listened to, yes — but it shouldn’t stop you either. I can put Celeste in a small pantheon of games that didn’t just entertain me, but also gave me the encouragement to improve myself and become a more confident person. It is powerful, and you should play it.

Just don’t quit!

Smash Bros. Ultimate Character Thoughts

I wasn’t that excited for the new Smash Bros but ended up getting a copy. I don’t actually care that much about most of the game, but I’ve always liked comparing characters between each new release and seeing who’s good, who I used to like that sucks now, and so on. After two and a half soul-crushing hours spent unlocking all the characters, here’s how I feel about the roster members I spent the most time with.

Please keep in mind that I don’t know that much about in-depth Smash. You won’t see me talking about frame data or whatever. If you wanted to rank me, I’d the person everyone hates in casual match-ups, but would easily get stomped out of the pools of a legit tournament. So High-Tier casual.

Whatever! Let’s go.


It’s 2018 and I’m maining Zelda. What a time to be alive. 

Is it true that I picked Zelda because now she’s super fucking cute? Yes! Look at those shoes, holy shit! And she’s so expressive now, it’s great. Plus I love her new color schemes (I pick the Skyward Sword one myself). That’s fine though because Zelda’s actually super fun to play now. Din’s Fire doesn’t put you into free-fall in the air anymore, Farore’s Wind is easier to keep track of and has huge kill potential, and Nayru’s Love is fantastic for anyone trying to approach you as a “get the hecc off of me” button. Her new forward and back airs have sweet spots as satisfying as Captain Falcon’s glorious knee of justice. But all that said, it’s her Phantom buff that really puts her at the next level. The edge-guarding options are legit whack, and it can even kill at higher percents. If a good Zelda gets you knocked off the stage, good luck trying to get back on! Plus it lets you set up some absolutely dirty enders.

I had to take a shower after this


MY BOY! I’ve been playing Roy since the Melee days, and he’s never gotten his proper dues. “He’s just Marth but worse.” “His sweet spots are terrible.”

But a new game means a new engine, and it feels like this engine was built around Roy. In retrospect, honestly, it feels like Roy was an Ultimate character stuck in Smash 4. They finally fixed all his weird frame data and it shows. There’s no wonder they call Roy a lion because Ultimate Roy is a beast. His pressure is unreal, his damage is next level, and he has options for pretty much everything. This man is doing kill damage at 60% for some characters! I feel like a God! Literally the only thing holding him back is his mediocre recovery, but doing that will require you to get Roy off the platform first. And if he’s running towards you, that probably isn’t happening. It’s the Roy Boys’ time to shine!


Don’t let her cuteness fool you – Pichu is a nightmare to deal with. I would never call myself skilled at Smash Bros, but when I pick up Pichu, I certainly feel like it. She has combos for days, and they’re all so easy to pull off. Her thunder being able to spike is so strong for the edge game, and she can use it to kill at higher %s. PLUS she can combo into that! The Ultimate engine benefits faster characters, and with Pichu as one of the fastest in the game, I’d be scared of her if I saw her online. 

Young Link

There are a lot of Links in Smash Bros, but Young Link is the one to pick. While I mained Toon Link in Brawl, and Just Link in 64, neither can match Y!Link. That’s because he does what the other Links do, but like…50x faster. This little kid scurries around the stage like someone dumped a bunch of sugar in his Lon Lon Milk. He can combo his arrows into each other! His mix-ups are strong because of all of his projectile options, and he can throw out some ridiculous kills. Plus his down-air spike…so satisfying when you manage to land it. 

I had a feeling I was going to like Inkling the minute I used her, and I was right. I tend to lean towards the speedier characters, and Inkling definitely fits that bill. She’s kind of like Y!Link in that she’s speedy and has a ton of options for different scenarios. Her ink takes a bit to get used to, and it can spell trouble for her if she’s run out, but she makes up for it in the damage that she can build up. Her roller is super fun to use, and canceling out of it for a smash attack after trapping somebody is truly revenge for all those who doubted the weapon in Splatoon. 

If you don’t shout woomy after you take a stock you’re a cop though.

That’s everyone I’ve played the most so far, and who I’d put into my “team” if we were doing a 5v5 Squad Strike, I guess. There are a few others I put a bit of time into, but not enough to make any definitive judgments (Isabelle looks like she’ll be horrifying to fight against, however). Obviously, things could change, both in terms of characters I play and ones that seem good but end up being bad, or vice versa. Assuming I keep playing Ultimate, I’ll update you on anything new I find interesting!

Character Intro: Kat Rush

I figured I should talk about The Freelancers now and then, especially now that I’m getting into this new draft properly and have finally escaped the exposition desert. Really though I just wanna talk about Kat!

I love Kat Rush. She’s not my main character – rather, she’s Coretta’s childhood friend – but she’s definitely my favorite (don’t tell the others). She’s a beam of sunshine that’s always looking at the bright side of things. She’s fashionable and also extremely gay, with supportive parents, both software developers. I actually based her dad on a friend of mine, who read the book’s first draft. I don’t think he’s noticed yet. :3

I try not to have Kat only defined by her positivity, though – she won’t take shit from anyone, and calls out other members of the party when they need to get their act together. She’s really an anchor for these kids. 

Kat Rush, Mint? Isn’t that a little on the nose? Yes, but I’m not ashamed of it. Gravity Rush is one of my favorite games, and Kat is one of my favorite characters, so I had to rep the series in some way. This shows itself in Kat’s personality but was also reflected in her particular psychic power, which was flight. However, I couldn’t figure out a good way to incorporate flight into the story in any meaningful way. It never really came up, and I couldn’t use it effectively, so I scrapped it. In its place, the things that Kat draws take physical form. This makes more sense because she’s an artist with a bit of an online following, so it ties into her character more. 

My favorite part of The Freelancers is writing out Coretta and Kat’s interactions. They play off each other really well, with Coretta’s stoic attitude never enough of a match for Kat’s easy sociability. Their moments are where my dialogue really shines. Writing Kat is always a joy, so I hope people like her when they finally get to meet her! 

Kat’s first design, by @astronauts321!

Some Games I Liked, 2018

What’s up losers, it’s time to talk about the games I liked this year. Shoutout to @spacegarbage on twitter for making the lit Mint banner, especially because I gave such useless groundwork like “uh she’d hold a Switch, I guess.” Artists are magic.

Anyways, games. We like those, sometimes, right? To be honest this year sucked in comparison to 2017, but it’s hard to top the year that Nier: Automata came out, so I’m not exactly surprised. It was a mediocre year that really trampled on any of the goodwill I had towards this garbage industry. I was more focused on finishing the creative projects that have been haunting me all these years. I caught up on my backlog and played a lot of FFXIV more than anything else, and barely finished any of the games I got. 

“Alright you negative piece of shit, what games did you like this year?” I was getting to that! Here’s the stuff I liked, and a little bit on why. Please don’t expect much in terms of nuance – games criticism is worthless and I’m cripplingly depressed, so I’m just here to tell you where I had at least a bit of a good time.


There was a period from 2004 to 2008 where I was abroad from the states and also a child, meaning even if I had access to console releases, I didn’t have the money to play them. In that time I delved into indie games – Derek Yu’s games, Lugaru, and Noitu Love. Noitu Love’s sequel was hype as hell, and I was excited to see what would come from Konjak next. I didn’t realize I’d have to wait that long, but it was worth it. Iconoclasts is an incredible work from one (!!!) person, and I highly recommend it. 

Monster Hunter World

I’ve always known how Monster Hunter works, but I’ve never played more than 40 hours of one. Monster Hunter World pushed me to over 100. It’s a Monster Hunter game I can recommend without a bunch of caveats, because its QoL changes made it worth it for casual players to give it a shot. Plus the Pukei Pukei is adorable and I love them.


Celeste is more than the sum of its parts and made me a better person. Very rarely do games have anything to say, and rarer still do they have something to say that’s so personal and important. The game is difficult but not condescending, a rare instance where gameplay and story work in tandem to provide an engaging experience.

Shadow of the Colossus

It’s Shadow of the Colossus, but prettier. The game is already perfect, of course I’m gonna love it again.

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]

Art also by @spacegarbage…I commission her a lot, she’s so good :’)

Alright, laugh it up, laugh it up. The title is stupid. I won’t argue that. It’s a shame it’s so underrated, because UNIST has the most thorough, engaging fighting game tutorials ever created. I’ve tried to get into the genre for years now, but it wasn’t until I played this game that I finally understood how the genre works. It plays like a dream, a mix of Street Fighter’s grounded fundementals with the movement options of an anime game. Plus it gave us Wagner, the greatest girl in gaming history.

Octopath Traveler

I know people weren’t fond of this game, but I loved it the whole way through. Figuring out broken job combinations and exploiting the numbers to my heart’s content never got old, and it was aesthetically pleasing on every front. Also it gave us H’annit. At this point you’ll probably recognize that my favorite games have good female characters in them.

Dragon Quest XI

It’s the third Dragon Quest I’ve ever finished. That’s the highest praise I can give it. 


Spider-Man is a good indicator that if your movement is good enough, then I’ll do all your boring side-missions. Everything Spidey does outside of the main plot has no point, and the game feels like one giant prologue for a better game to come, but it felt so good to play that it didn’t really matter. 

Let me play as Miles, cowards.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna the Golden Country

Telling that one of the best games of 2018 is DLC of a game from 2017. Not only did XC2 add a ton of QoL changes, new blades, and a crossover with XC1, it also gave us Torna the Golden Country, an expansion with new plot, a better combat system, and most importantly: NEW MUSIC!

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

You get to be a lesbian butch on a boat that murders people and literally steals girlfriends. Kass is the character of the year. Oh and the game’s fun too I guess.

Soul Caliber VI

It has 2B in it.

That’s it! Like I said this year sucked! I’m not as into games as I used to be, and am going to be very picky with what I play next year. If I wrote a “bad games I played this year” article, it’d be twice as long as this one. Next up is Music of the Year, which will be a much more pleasant and less sarcastic article, heh.