Eat Like a #Gamer

The other night, on a whim, I posted on social media about my healthy version of Seven Layer Dip and got a surprising response. All my gamer pals drooled over it. Now, you know me. Before I met Charles, my diet consisted of frozen burritos, sour gummy bears, energy shots, and Coca-Cola. I know, I know. I don’t know how I came up underweight at my last physical. Okay, I do know, I didn’t eat a whole lot of anything even when I ate crap, but the anorexic phase of my grief has lifted and I feel like unhinging my jaw like a python and eating large quantities of fat and sugar. Won’t stay at fighting weight for long like that. And let’s face it, it’s too damn hard to take off weight as a middle-aged gamer so I’d like to hang around a healthy 130 lbs. Not to mention my beloved tends toward healthier eating habits so time to make some changes.

But I love my gamer food. Nachos, taquitos, fried mozzarella, bags of chips, large bags of Skittles. Damn, I’m drooling already. Those foods definitely have to go onto the “sometimes” food list. What’s a hungry gamer girl to do?

Inspiration struck when I pulled out my old cooking diaries. Believe it or not, once upon a time I used to eat a very healthy diet and tried my hand at fitness-ing up some old favorites that are traditionally chock full of fat and carbs. I came across a recipe for Seven Layer Dip that won’t lead straight to a coronary. After sharing it with Charles and getting the thumbs up (he had three helpings :D), I thought I’d share it with my fellow gamers.

Layer 1: Lund’s whole grain Spanish Rice (follow recipe on box to prepare)

Layer 2: No fat or low fat refried beans

Layer 3: Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burgers, crumbled and browned like ground beef (you can also sub some grilled chicken in case veggie burgers just ain’t your thang)

Layer 4: Taco sauce (any brand you prefer)

Layer 5: Half a cup of your shredded favorite cheese (just a sprinkling for flavor)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 mins until everything is hot and melty

Layer 6: Pureed avocado or plain greek yogurt (you’re choice or both, make it an eight layer dip, it’s your dish, do it your way!)

Layer 7: Veggies (shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, minced onion, toss that salad on top)

Makes 6-8 servings

Serve with baked whole grain tortilla chips and voila! You’ve got the perfect food to shovel in your mouth during cut scenes or loading screens. Who says you can’t eat like a gamer and still eat healthy? Game on!

If I’ve entertained you or added some value to your day, that’s wonderful! If you’d like to support my blog you can do so at https://ko-fi.com/grownupgamergirl or paypal.me/cindyjackalopes. All donations to my online content are much appreciated, but definitely not required to keep coming back to visit!

Sleeping on Immortals

Photo credit: Ubisoft Game Cover Art

One of the presents I got for my birthday was a PS gift card and it took me a minute to figure out what to spend it on. “Why?” you ask. “Do you not have a backlog?” Oh but I do. See, that’s part of the problem. There are lots of games both newer and retro that sound good, but not really great. Yes, I learned my lesson with Days Gone and Biomutant that reviews can’t predict what I’ll really get into. Just because other gamers dislike something doesn’t always mean I won’t enjoy it.

There’s a game that’s been on my “to buy” list for a while and there are lots of reasons it’s languished there. One, since it was released last year, the price on it is still pretty hefty. There are few games I’ll pay full price for, it’s got to be a game that starts me salivating every time I think about it. Immortals Fenyx Rising just wasn’t a drool-worthy title. It’s also Ubisoft…and no, I’m not Ubisoft bashing, but they can be a little hit or miss so I wasn’t gonna pay $60 to find out if they got this one right.

Aside from the price, there were also a lot of other games that I had already purchased that needed playing and some new releases that took precedence, such as Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. So yeah, Immortals just kept being pushed down the list until my birthday came. Eight months after the game’s release, a PS gift card and a sale price aligned: it was time to dive into Fenyx Rising. And my patience did pay off because I got the gold edition for only $40, which leaves me with $10 for RDO or ESO micro-transactions. Yesssss!

Given the reviews which were all over the place and the general lack of discussion about the game in the gamer community, I really didn’t expect much. I was pleasantly surprised when the opening cut scene made me laugh. As I explored further, I discovered the title is a charming good time that can only be described as AC: Odyssey (I mean why would Ubisoft reinvent the wheel?) meets Disney’s Hercules meets Tomb Raider. It just so happens I love all three of those works of art, so f@#k yeah, the game is fun.

“But Cindy,” you say, “IGN only gave the game a 7/10! How can it be fun?” Well, I had just such a discussion with many of my friends on Twitter. As they pointed out, some gamers consider anything less than an eight unplayable. He doesn’t happen to be of that opinion and neither am I. Also, this isn’t the first time I’ve disagreed with reviewers on a game score. No, Immortals isn’t GOTY material, but I don’t think it’s quite a seven either. Maybe a 7.5 or 7.75…7.6492? Whatever, point being, regardless of the game’s reviews, it is just plain fun.

Another friend on Twitter pointed out that Immortals released hot on the heels of Assasin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion so it might have been overshadowed by those heavy hitters. Whatever the case, Immortals is a good bit of fun. If you’ve been sleeping on it like I was, seriously, give it a try. Will it change your life? No…no it won’t. Will it it amuse you during a time of financial uncertainty during this ever evolving pandemic. Yes, it most likely will. I suppose that’s my real point. There’s too little joy in the world today to overlook a diamond in the rough that will make you laugh, challenge you and give you the perfect excuse to ignore the outside world.

If I’ve entertained you or added some value to your day, that’s wonderful! If you’d like to support my blog you can do so at https://ko-fi.com/grownupgamergirl or paypal.me/cindyjackalopes. All donations to my online content are much appreciated, but definitely not required to keep coming back to visit!

When a Gamer Girl Takes a Break

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Yes, it’s September. And yes, as I predicted, the latest upheaval (albeit a delightful one) gave me pause. So, I did just that. I pressed pause and took a second to re-evaluate my goals and what exactly I hope to accomplish with this blog. For over a year, it has served as my therapy session and an outlet for the madness with which my life had been teeming. Now, though, everything is settling down, mellowing into the warm glow of happiness. I met my dream man. My son is venturing into adulthood with his first few wobbly steps. I have not one, but two places I call home. Everything has gotten comfortable. Waaaaay too comfortable.

This is supposed to be my year to challenge myself, step outside my comfort zone, and yes, I’ve done that on many fronts. As my new normal gets easier to manage, however, it’s tempting to let my writing and gaming ambitions slide. But we cannot have that so I’ve decided to take things up a notch. I created an Anchor account to make my blog posts into podcasts as well. I’ve also created a more regular posting schedule which hence forth shall be Tuesdays and Fridays. Plus, though not exactly gaming related (though gaming features in it) I’ve started writing a new novel. IKR? Inspiration abounds and I’m ready to strike while the iron is hot.

That being said, while I took a teensy break from blogging and writing, I did not take a break from gaming. I’ve been on Elder Scrolls Online and Red Dead Online grinding away. I beat Immortals Fenyx Rising. Not to mention a second playthrough of God of War. All good things and oodles to write about. Next on my list of games to tackle, I’m thinking Lost in Random and Knights of Amalur: Rereckoning (once my beloved is done whooping a$$ on it). Break time is over. It’s time to get serious about playing!

Along the lines of getting serious, I started a Ko-Fi account, just in case you’d like to donate to the cause of keeping a grown-up gamer girl in games to play. No pressure, I love all my readers and am grateful you’ve visited my blog in the first place :D. All the clicks, likes, follows, and subscribes help more than you know. However, if you do feel as though you’d like to help fund my dream, you can donate at https://ko-fi.com/grownupgamergirl or via Paypal – paypal.me/cindyjackalopes . But seriously, I’m thankful for each and every visitor I get and each and every person who supports my journey in their own way. Cheers! And until Friday, game on, my friends!

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Shoot NPCs in the Face if I Want to: RDO Call to Arms

Ammo at critical levels, minty and thyme big game meat damn near gone, buffs applied every couple minutes, enemies surrounding the roof where I’ve posted up, I’m in deep shit now. And I love it.

I’ve been leveled up in Red Dead Online for a minute. All the best ammo and weapons. Full health, stamina, and dead eye stats. Ability cards set so I’m damn hard to kill. Players that f@#k with me get they head blown off, several times till they choose to parley or leave the lobby. Even the new Blood Money Crimes posed little challenge. What’s a bored gamer girl to do with all this gear and gold buffs? Well, Rockstar, you done got it right for once (at least in RDO, I know GTA Online is a pampered, spoiled little game)

I woke a little late Tuesday morning and Charles was already on his PS4 as I padded out of the bedroom, yawning and stretching. I asked what he was up to. He said A New Source of Employment missions. Meh, I curled my lip. Wasn’t overly impressed with those re-packaged stranger missions. Then he said the magic words: “And these Call to Arms missions are tough.”

Whaaaaa? What’s that now? Something in the game I’ve never heard of. Wait! It’s update day…could it be? My breath caught in my throat. New content? It’s f@#king Christmas morning! Now, hold on now, Cindy. Don’t get too excited. Remember the first Quick Draw Pass. yawn-a-palooza for the most part. But as soon as Charles loaded into MacFarlane Ranch and wave after wave of pissed off NPC kept trying to murder him I got that sweet shot of adrenaline. Oh yessssss. Let’s do this.

Tried it solo at first, thinking I’d face-tank my way through it like I do every other mission in RDO. Then, it happened. I got my a$$ handed to me. Oh yes! Please hand me my own a$$. Make me try, make me think, make me bring my A game cuz I been coasting far too long. One lost day and night later, we finally defeated one of these beast missions. Granted I’ve been trying to solo or duo it with Charles. Nope, can’t do it yet. We had a very helpful high level and the three of us finally got the damn thing done.

The other cool thing about these missions is that they take place in different locations, each posing a different strategic and tactical challenge. Valentine requires more of a rooftop, pick ’em off approach, Fort Mercer you gotta have a player posted at every corner. MacFarlane Ranch takes a whole lot of running and gunning. Strawberry and Blackwater need a balanced plan of attack with their many avenues of entrance and egress.

Properly armed for bear and loaded with recovery items, waves 1-5, possibly even 6 don’t pose too much challenge and are totally possible to solo for a higher level player. It’s just a lot of killing hordes of enemies and you’ve got your NPC allies to back you up. But as they get picked off in the battle and the enemy brings in heavy artillery (Maxim guns and/or cannons), not to mention those hard-to-kill jerks with the machetes, things get a lot hairier. I’ve made it half way through wave 8 completely solo (in the video above I did clear wave 8 mostly alone, but my teammates were there for the other waves). I am bound and determined to solo one of these beasts before I officially consider myself satisfied. Yes, I’m a masochist. I admit this freely.

I don’t know that I’d recommend this update for lower levels (anyone under level 75) because it might prove overwhelming. However, if you’ve got a couple high level friends or are just a sucker for pain like me, why the f@#k not? Jump on in. It’s great practice for flickshots and running and gunning. And even if you fail, you still get a ton of gold, RDO$ and XP. When we first started these missions I was level 206, in two days time, I’m level 213 which is unheard of progress if you grind the old-fashioned way on this game.

Though I often give Rockstar a lot of crap for treating Red Dead like the red-headed stepchild of their online endeavors, I am woman enough to admit that this time, they done good. I hope to see more cool, challenging updates like this one. It’s so freaking awesome to have to focus and sweat and cuss my way through a mission. Explosive ammo isn’t just for trolls anymore! Yay! Yes, I’ve found a whole new method of anger management.

Don’t get me wrong, based on my last post, while I am happy, happier than I’ve been in decades, I still got lots of frustrations to take out on NPCs (cuz I don’t mess with other players unless they mess with me and I try my best never to take my bad mood out on those I love). But yeah I still got stuff. Little things like the IRS is taking its sweet time “reviewing” my tax return, cuz, you know, they owe me a lot of money. And big things, like it’s my birthday tomorrow and both my parents are dead. It’s not the first year without them, but things were so fresh and raw last year that I didn’t celebrate, I didn’t even think about the fact that it was my birthday. I just soldiered on with probate headaches and ignored the day. In fact, I think it was about that time last year I hit level 100 on RDO. Coincidence? I think not.

But this year my baby daddy (not the guy who tried to kill me, that’s a different ex) and my son want to throw me a party. Charles and I are headed back to WV with his son for the festivities. While having my blended family together for the first time warms my heart, that same heart breaks a little for the people who will be missing. I mean, my parents were the reason for the day after all. Most folks might sit and have a good cry about that, and I might, but really, I prefer to shoot machete wielding a$$holes in the face. Yep, that’s what works for me. Get the bad stuff out and game on.

Until next time, my friends! You know where I’ll be, battling it out in the Old West till I can’t see straight.

No RAgrets…yes, I know that’s spelled wrong.

In my feelings this morning. Big trip. Big risk, big reward. Charles knows what I’m talking about. Heyyy, babyyy. Sorry…I’ll do my best to focus.

Engaging with other content creators on Twitter and YouTube is par for the course, and it can feel like shouting into the void. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not like that. You have something to say and your audience is out there.

Let’s look at my vision. I’m a middle-aged woman who loves gaming, might have a mixed past (so totally do!) and who leaks her feelings on a blog. Who the f@#k wants to read that?! Well, it turns out…a lot of people do. My blog numbers grow every single day and for that…well, I have no words. And that’s saying a lot cuz supposedly I’m a wordsmith…so you know…yeah…totally😏

The voices in my head love to tell me no one cares what I have to say. I know a lot of you feel the same way. (Poet and don’t know it moment…yassss 🀘). But the thing is, even identical twins have different fingerprints. No one else can press their thumb into the clay and leave the same imprint. So leave your mark. Do the damn thing. F@king fight back against the doubt, the fear, the insecurity.

I have as of late and I can say I have no ragrets… (really not even one letter?) Nope. Okay, okay it’s no regrets. My point: You’re gonna fuck up and have ragrets but you’ll never REgret being true to yourself.

So after a self-proclaimed dating/man fast I, of course, met the man of my dreams like a month later. Of course, Universe. Thanks for that πŸ˜‰ And what makes it so cool is that he’s perfectly fine with Cindy Unfiltered. In fact, he’s more in love with the pedal to the metal version of me. Makes me stop and think, WTF have I been doing all these years?

Well, I know what I’ve been doing. As my banner states, I’ve been trying to make everyone else happy, at the expense of my own happiness. Funny thing is, no one was happy with that situation. Hashtag irony. Yeah….

But the gamers, artists, and musicians I most admire are unapologetically themselves. So that’s who I have to be. And guess what…it’s who you have to be, too. Cuz if you ain’t yourself, then who the hell are you? No RAgrets…just sayin’. Game on, my friends 😊🀘.

My Go-To Game

Image credit: Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay on PS4

Some folks say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives me lemons, I choose to make moonshine. Okay, okay. I know you can’t actually make moonshine from lemons. I mean, not lemons exclusively. At least I don’t think so πŸ€”. I actually don’t know, but I don’t think they have enough sugar content to ferment… Dammit, Cindy. Focus!

What I’m talkin’ about is that go-to game. The game that’s like an old friend you never get tired of hanging out with, the one that makes you feel better when you’re blue, the one you play after you’ve finished a new game and have no clue what to play next. For me, it’s Red Dead Redemption 2 and of course it’s online incarnation (hence the moonshine reference that I thoroughly botched, but all good, let’s keep moving).

So today I woke up to discover my rebellious pup, who isn’t adjusting well to the changes in my household, had befouled the hardwood floor right outside my bedroom. Cleaned that up and interviewed for a freelance job I didn’t get. Part of me is kinda relieved about that. Writing copy for a large corporation’s pet project is not my idea of a good time. I didn’t really want the job because I need to care about what I’m writing. And let’s face it, I’m not exactly a corporate, stiff white collar kinda gal. I’m a Hulk t-shirt, leggings and puppy dog slipper socks kinda lady, thank you very much. Still the extra money would’ve been nice and rejection always sucks.

Then I got a phone call from one of my most favorite-est (it is too a word!) people. He sounded tired and stressed, which he has every right to be considering he’s been through the wringer himself the past few weeks. The fatigue and melancholy in his voice made me feel helpless because he’s literally a thousand miles away. All I could do was listen and cheer him on as he spent his day putting out fires. Still, I wished vehemently that I could pull a magic wand out of my a$$ and make it all better.

Oh and my son quit his job today because he’s got a cold and seemed quite offended that neither his supervisor nor the store manager gave a crap that he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go home. To my mind, that’s akin to swatting a fly with a Buick and I told him as much. Unfortunately he’s at that age when foolish decisions are par for the course and I have to let him make his own mistakes. No one tells you how hard this is to do, but guess what? It’s really f@#king hard. And this is why Mommy drinks. Kidding, kidding. Okay, mostly kidding.

The last straw was discovering I’d forgotten to take out the trash out last night. Sigh. I even have a reminder set in my phone so there’s no excuse. I dropped the ball, it’s that simple. Oh, and the downstairs AC unit is still acting up, so there’s that.

On a day like today, I needed to spend a little quality time with my VOMA (virtual object of my affection), Mr. Arthur Morgan. Despite the constant threat of peril, there’s something soothing and simple about the time and space he inhabits. The vast open world gives you the illusion of control as you pick and choose from a generous array of quests that don’t feel repetitive, even though they are. Plus shooting bad guys in the face is a fantastic stress reliever, in my humble opinion. Not to mention, the story is so tragic, it makes me think, yeah, my life’s not that bad after all. Yep, RDR2 is my go-to game for all those reasons and perhaps a few I don’t fully realize.

Once my most favorite-est (still insisting it’s a word) person’s busy day wound down, and he said, “You ready to do this, babe?” I plopped my cattleman’s crease hat on my head, took up the controller and replied, “Yep, let’s ride.” And just like that (imagine me snapping fingers), all was right with the world.

Who Doesn’t Love a Pirate

Video credit: Assassin’s Creed Black Flag gameplay on PS4

Upon the recommendation of my cowboy and other gamer friends, I finally gave in and purchased Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. Whaaaaa? No, I’ve never played it. I know, I know, but let me explain why.

The other AC games that include naval battles, like Origins and Odyssey, the ship stuff was my least favorite part of the gameplay. It could be just me and my barely average gaming skills, but the aiming and the bracing and the firing, it all felt cumbersome. Definitely not as satisfying as the combat: timing that perfect block to stagger your elite opponent or Sparta kicking a mercenary off a cliff.

And I have gone through the entire AC backlog in the last eighteen months, but when it came time to play Black Flag, I just swooped around it and went for Rogue. Hey, it’s my gamer journey and I’ll skip titles if I want to. I don’t like AC ship battles…or at least I didn’t think I did. I’m woman enough to admit when I am…umm…less than correct. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Two days ago, I gave into peer pressure and bought the damn game. Of course, I love it. The climbing mechanics remind me of the Ezio titles (loves me some Ezio), but the naval battles, far superior to Odyssey. This leaves me scratching my head. Why change the mechanics for later titles? It’s the same question I had for Ubisoft when they scaled back the fighting mechanics from the super cool Odyssey style to the simplified Valhalla style. Why, Ubisoft…whyyyyyyy??? Sorry…I need a moment…

Okay, I’m back. Turns out, Black Flag is so much more than just a bunch of ships firing on each other. It’s a deep dive into pirate life. And c’mon, who doesn’t love pirates? Look at the success of The Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise (loves me some Captain Jack Sparrow). There’s The Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Vegas. And of course there’s the beloved literary classic from which the hotel takes its name. Hell, my most popular erotic romance series featured a cowboy pirate (hmmm…reminds me of someone else I love. Heyyy, Charles 😏).

So what is it about pirates that are so freaking intoxicating. Well, first of all, the wardrobe is *fabulous*. Scarves, earrings, beads, gold chains, over-the-knee boots, flowing lace up blouses. Pirate fashion is fierce. Then, of course, there’s the swashbuckling swordplay. Who doesn’t feel like a bada$$ duel-wielding Persian scimitars or British cutlasses? Yes, there’s something intoxicating about the trappings of a privateer, but I think it’s something more.

For me, it’s the freedom. Wind in your hair, salt spray from the open ocean, no rules but the ones you make and break for yourself. As I rediscover the liberty to be 100% Cindy, no apologies and no diluting my 80 proof personality, I get it. I spent too many years either denying her existence or shying away from adventure because there *might* be consequences.

Yes, we all have responsibilities and adult things we must do. Like doing the dishes and working an evil day job to pay the bills and making sacrifices for those who depend on us. But part of the human spirit yearns to be free. Rebellion is a natural reaction to bonds that hold us too tightly. It’s easy to dream about a life less ordinary and less restrictive and therefore idealize it. Nothing wrong with that as long as you keep in mind, it is indeed a just a dream.

Edward Kenway’s adventures throughout the game are full of daring, liberty, and bad ideas that turn into good stories. We’ve all had those nights πŸ˜‰ And did I mention his fabulous wardrobe? I think I did. It’s easy to sink into your gamer chair and imagination for a few (or several) hours that you are not bound by the rules of society.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, games give us the opportunity to live out our fantasies in a safe and controlled way. As the historical founder of the Hashshashin, Hassan-i Sabbah, is credited with saying, “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” What that means is, once in a while, it’s oh so healthy to embrace your inner Edward Kenway and find the spot on the map of your soul that reads: here, there be pirates.

The ESO Connection

Image credit: Elder Scrolls Online gameplay

Okay, how the f@#k have I not played this game until now? Actually, I do know why. MMORPGs aren’t my jam. Or at least I thought they weren’t.

When I started gaming as a kid, it was a solo endeavor unless P2 sat in the same room with you and you had another controller. Positively primitive, I know. That being said, I do love Elder Scrolls Online. Why, you ask? Let me tell ya.

About a year ago, I discovered Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. It was one of those games that sort of takes over your life but you don’t mind because the amount of content and solid writing and adrenaline rush makes it worth neglecting your hygiene and loved ones for a couple weeks.

Knowing this, my gamer guy suggested ESO a couple months ago, but like I said I don’t f@#ks with MMORPGs (and no, RDO is not an MMORPG, don’t get me started). But I’m on this journey to explore all the gaming I missed while being a responsible adult so finally, I downloaded it. Bam! It was love at first button click.

I’m like a kid in a freaking candy store. There’s so much content, it’s almost overwhelming. All the loot. All the ways to customize your character’s build. Not to mention the map is massive and let’s face it, size does matter. The costume options are a little hit or miss, but all in all, I think I might have a new gaming love of my life. I can imagine losing months, possibly years, of my life to ESO. But hey, I have no life, so there’s that.

Currently, I’m playing as a nightblade class dark elf, but I can’t wait to explore all the other races and classes. I’m also looking forward to exploring the PVP options. Again, not my wheelhouse because I usually play story games or PVE online. But I will improvise, adapt, overcome. Of this I have no doubt.

What I find most fascinating is the sense of community. The way I grew up playing and how I first approached gaming once I got back into it was like that George Thorogood song, “I Drink Alone,” except I game alone. Well, sometimes I drink alone, but that’s a whole other story.

In a previous post I wrote about Jane McGonigal’s theory on gamer super powers, one of which was weaving a social fabric. MMOs foster a sense of camaraderie (is that really how that word is spelled? Sorry, I’ll focus). I don’t think I’m brave enough to jump into a guild with random people. But I can say gaming in a small group sponsored by gamer guy has opened my eyes to a whole new world.

If I’m honest, I’m a lot less lonely, even though we don’t game in the same room. I’ve been a bit isolated since, you know, my life started imploding about three years ago. Add my severe introversion to the loss of everything I once knew, I’m in need of a little connection. Humans are social creatures after all. Maybe I’ve found a good place to start, The ESO Connection.

White-Knighting…Let’s Talk about It

Image credit: eskipaper.com

There’s nothing more irritating for a gamer girl than a male player who assumes she cannot take care of herself in-game simply because she’s female. But is that really what white-knighting is? I’m not so sure.


Don’t get me wrong. Of course sexism exists in the world of gaming, just as it exists in every facet of daily life. You see it on YouTube all the time. Spawntaneous has made a career out of showcasing how condescending some gamer boys can be. This does not mean every guy who plays video games is a sexist pig, nor does it mean that every time a male player rushes to help a female player that it comes from a place of feeling superior simply due to outward facing genitalia.


Okay, first, let’s talk about what “white-knighting” means. The phrase applies when a male player will jump in to aid or verbally defend a female player, particularly one he doesn’t know (though not always), as though he has shown up to save her like a white knight on his noble steed, regardless of whether she asked for help. Hence the term: “white-knighting”.


So, is it wrong for a man to stand up for a women in a case where she’s in no physical danger? Yes and no. Yes, because it assumes that she needs help which could be perceived as he thinks she’s helpless. But no, because trying to lend a hand is generally a kind thing to do.


Okay, so now that we know what it is and why it may or may not offend someone, let’s look at why it happens. Does it mean the guy’s a condescending jerk? I’m sure in some instances that’s true, but I doubt that’s the only explanation. Not to mention that to assume a man helping out a woman in-game is always white-knighting is sexist in the other direction. Could be it’s just one gamer jumping in to play with another gamer, no gender politics involved.


But when something that looks like white-knighting does occur, I think there are a few non-offensive reasons it happens. It could be that due to the overwhelming majority of gamers still being male, Mr. White Knight would like to play with a female. He’s tired of the sausage fest that is his Saturday Night gaming group and he just wants to hang out with a member of the opposite sex for a little while.


In the case of a man defending a female player from some a$$hat who is saying nasty stuff like, “Why don’t you get off the game and make me a sandwich, b!tch” or “Girls can’t game” maybe this so-called white knight doesn’t want to hear that ignorant crap either. I mean, really, is it so wrong to tell a hateful person to shut the f@#k up?


As for men who game with women they know, such as friends, family members, or their SO, they might be trying to impress her or that they feel genuinely protective. Not because she’s weak, but because they care. My gamer guy BFF does this all the time and I let him because he’s earned the right to rush to my defense by being a true, caring, awesome friend.


In a world where we are ever more aware of how our actions and words affect other people, I think it’s also important to assume that the person stepping on your feelings didn’t necessarily mean to do it. At least until they prove otherwise. Perhaps it’s best to ask a player of any gender (non-binary included of course) if you can jump in or if they need help. That being said, if you ever do come across my characters on RDO or ESO, please assume I got this, because I so freaking do. Just ask my gamer guy BFF.

Keeping it 200: Red Dead Online

The goal is a waste of time. I know this. After level 100 on Red Dead Online you gain no more advantage from leveling up further. That’s it, all weapons, horses, clothing items, and abilities are unlocked by then. Okay, yes, every five levels you get a treasure map. Whooptie freaking doo. I’ve got more gold and RDO$ than I know what to do with.

So why can’t I stop playing this f@#king game?

There’s so much about RDO that irritates me. The forever load time. The way my saved outfits magically disappear from time to time. Cripps and his sudden need to pack my camp up while I’m en route. How my character gets stuck walking like John Wayne after certain missions. I picked the flamboyant walk because she’s a cute little ladylike outlaw, dammit. I don’t want her walking around like she’s saddle sore. You get my meaning πŸ˜‰ Sorry, sorry. That bug really bothers me.

There are countless other bugs and glitches, not to mention the always half-baked updates. So I ask again: why can’t I stop playing this f@#king game? Not just continue to play it, but grind on it so often that I’m almost level 200?

To put this in perspective, once you hit level 100, it takes about 10,000 XP to rank up. And that increases little by little so that at this point it’s around 11,000 XP to level up.

For the sake of simple math let’s stick with 10,000. That means I’ve earned almost 1,000,000 XP. And to put that into perspective, the average bounty yields around 300, naturalist and moonshiner missions, maybe 500. The motherlode is the trader goods delivery which takes forever to build up to, but it rewards players with 2000 XP. Yes, there are other ways to get a little extra XP here and there, but when you consider chalking up 1,000,000 in a few months time, that’s a lot of wasted days and wasted nights. It’s okay, I’m woman enough to admit it.

So, if the game irks me and it’s grindy as all hell once you get to a certain level, what attracts me to it over and over again? It’s kinda like that lover that’s no good for you but who’s too much fun not to answer the phone when he calls.

But what’s so fun about it? I don’t know. Really I don’t! There’s just something about shooting a bandit in the face after you’ve tackled him. There’s a thrill to the ever increasing difficulty of the Legendary Bounties. And yes, I’m that player who’ll start Harriet’s naturalist missions but instead of sedating the Legendary animal, I kill it, skin it, and give the pelt to Cripps. But c’mon it makes the trader role so much easier. And then there’s the almost slots like discovery of collectibles throughout the world. Most of the time it’s just going to be a measly playing card, but once in a while you hit the jackpot and get jewelry or a rare flower.

Okay, so I do love unleashing my inner bada$$ in RDO. And it could be said that IRL, I’m a bit repressed. I follow rules. I’m nice even perhaps when I shouldn’t be. So maybe RDO gives me an outlet for all that inappropriate behavior I’ve got locked inside me. Better to release it in virtual reality than real reality.

I also think my affection for RDO comes from my love of the story mode. Red Dead Redemption 2 moved me in a way I can’t quite explain. I wanted so much to save Arthur, but we all know how that turns out. Perhaps continuing to inhabit his world is a way to stay connected to a character I grew to love.

What ever it is, I’m level 196 and I know I won’t stop until I reach 200. And then, really, who am I kidding, I’ll keep playing because I love the game. Maybe it’s just that simple.