Fire Emblem Fates

Last week, I downloaded a game called Fire Emblem Fates (FEF). I haven’t finished the game, but today I feel confident enough to at least share my thoughts on it. 

First, what is Fire Emblem Fates? Well, it’s a tactical RPG, a type of game similar to chess. In chess you have a bunch of pieces, and in the game you have a bunch of pieces called units. The goal of the game is to use these units to defeat the AI’s pieces. We repeat this process until we beat the game, but FEF is much deeper than that. Each unit is unique, with their own strength, skill, personalities, and weakness. 

Besides the gameplay, there is the story. For most Fire Emblem games, their story is a core piece of the game as a whole. In FEF’s case, the story is relatively simple. The game revolves around a war between two countries, Nohr and Hoshido. Nohr is a vast empire seeking expansionism, while Hoshido is a peaceful country preferring isolation. It’s quite easy to see how these two countries would be at odds. However, the twist that makes the story a lot more intriguing is the protagonist, your own character. As a prince/princess that was born into the Hoshido royal family but grew up in Nohr’s royal family, you as the protagonist have a connection to both sides of the war. Now, the player has to chose a side. 

It’s a very interesting idea, and a plot that I think could work out well. Unfortunately, there’s just one problem, the protagonist. Unlike the last FE game I played, the protagonist doesn’t really go through a character arc. The protagonist from beginning to end, didn’t feel engaging. In the route I’m playing in, the protagonist is fighting against the family he grew up with. However, the protagonist doesn’t seem affected by the deaths of his family. Perhaps it’s just my nitpicking, but the story doesn’t seem all too engaging. 

In Fire Emblem Three Houses, another FE game I’ve played, the player could make radical changes and determine the fate of an entire continent. Each of the four routes the story took in Three Houses was different and engaging. No matter what you do, you’re forced to kill units you grew connected to during the first act. In comparison, Fire Emblem Fates has you fight against a family that you barely have any knowledge of. As the player, you’re not invested into the characters of the opposing side. It’s only when you’ve played through both routes do you have any emotional connection the characters. Three Houses gives you an entire act to bond with units, while Fates needs you make that bond in few section for any emotional impact. 

Rather than the story, I find my decision for choosing a side is more swayed by units and classes. Like most games that release with two versions, there is some kind of version exclusivity for each one. In this case, each version has their own units and classes. If you pick one version for a certain set of units, you won’t have access to the other half. However, the most important factor is likely the difficulty. Conquest, the route that follows Nohr is much harder than Hoshido’s route. The reason for this is because Conquest there is no grinding for experience or money. In Birthright, the route that follows Hoshido, you can make your units stronger in a safe environment. You can’t do this in Conquest. This is particularly important, because in all Fire Emblem games once a unit is gone, they’re gone for good. With very few exceptions, there are no revivals. In cases like Conquest, resource management is much more important.

Overall, Fire Emblem Fates is still a fun game. Compared to Fire Emblem Three Houses, I have to say Fates is the lesser of the two. However, that doesn’t take away from the characters of Fates. Three Houses just had a better story and protagonist, the only two downsides for me in Fates.

Online VS Face to Face Tutoring

For the past few months, I’ve taken on a tutor for math and more recently chemistry as well. However, with Coronavirus spreading like wildfire, almost everyone around the globe has been stuck in their home. Unfortunately, this also include myself and my tutors eliminating face to face sessions. Fortunately, with the power of the internet, we can continue our lessons through Skype and other similar software. In todays blog, I’ll be talking about the differences between face to face and online.

To start off, I’ll begin taking about the positives of face to face and negatives of online sessions. The first positive to this type of tutoring is crystal clear communication. Unlike with Skype, there is no lag or other forms of interruptions. In addition, you’re also able to use paper or hand gestures to help describe your thought process. Of course, you can hold up a piece of paper to the camera or adjust your camera respectively. However, it is much easier to have the person you’re talking to you in front of you. Another benefit of face to face session is the ability to take notes. With recent sessions, I find myself and the tutor referencing the textbook more often than we previously did. I think the reason for this is because it has become much harder for the tutor to give me notes. When we conducted previous math lessons, she would write notes on a blank piece of paper and reference the textbook only when necessary. I can still write down notes and take screenshots, however it’s just not the same.

Alternatively, there is also online tutoring. Despite the negatives of online learning, there are also quite a few positives. One of them being the ability to conduct lessons on the fly. Unlike face to face sessions, it is really easy to schedule sessions on both ends, especially with current world events as they are. There is no travel time, thus no time wasted if a lesson is suddenly cancelled or pushed back. Another added benefit of online sessions, is accurate time management. During face to face sessions, you need some sort of timer to keep track of time. Without an accurate way to keep track of time, the session may end a bit early or go over. However, with a call, you easily look at how long the lessons has taken.  

Out of these two, I honestly prefer face to face lessons. Despite the amount of effort it takes to plan those sessions, I find I get more information out of them. I also find looking at paper notes rather then a bunch of screenshots much easier. For example, just a few days ago, in my math lesson we’ve moved on to graphing. As one would expect, graphing involves drawing graphs. However, it’s quite hard to see what’s happening on a white board through the lens of a camera. In the end, the tutor and I just ended up using the textbook for learning about different types of graphs. Regardless, I really miss the detailed examples and notes. 

Overall, there are benefits and negatives to both forms of tutoring. I prefer face to face conversations and note taking, while others may prefer a more hands off approach. In any case, this Coronavirus has let me experience both worlds of tutoring. However, not in the way I would’ve liked. Regardless, this virus still doesn’t look like going to be going away any time soon.  

Coronavirus Quarantine

If you weren’t aware of current events, the Coronavirus is taking the world by storm. Due to this virus a worldwide pandemic was issued by the World Health Organization. What does this mean? Social distancing and a vampire lifestyle until this pandemic goes away. This week, I want to share how I’m dealing with rapid life style change and my thoughts on the current situation. 

As much as I’m ashamed to admit, I originally thought this whole situation would blow over quickly. I never thought the Coronavirus would spread to this extent nor affect my life as much as it has. Personally, the biggest impact the virus has had is definitely my education. I never thought I’d say it, but I miss school. Unlike previous years, this year and the next one are particularly important to me. I need good grades to get into a good university or collage, and with schools closed I don’t know how grades will be doled out. I’m honestly very worried for my grades, particularly Chemistry. 

Chemistry is definitely not my forte and I admittedly had been struggling a bit. It has gotten much better after getting a tutor, but my current grade is still worrying me to no end. If they really do end school early, I might very well end up taking Chemistry for summer school and I don’t say stuff like that lightly. My last experience with summer school was painful, and that’s no exaggeration. There were tests and assignments every other day with no breaks in between. The second you blink, you’ve likely missed at least a days worth of notes. And all this pain is from taking grade ten history, and I like history. I can’t even imagine the pain of take grade eleven Chemistry for summer school, but I realistically might need to do it.

Setting, Chemistry aside there’s still all my other subjects. In English, we were going to do our book clubs after March break. However, with this whole Coronavirus crisis going on, our plans are now in limbo. On the bright side, we can at least read and that’s what our teacher has asked us to do. The book I ended up reading is called Angela’s Ashes, a story of a poor Irish family during the great depression and all the hardships they endured. I’ll admit it’s interesting and I would’ve liked share my thoughts on the book with fellow classmates. However, that’s a bit hard to do right now and it’s a mystery to what will happen when we get back. In previous English classes, book club was always an essential part of the curriculum and I really hope they don’t scrape it. I’ve never been great at essays, and book club has always been a mark booster for me. 

As for Media Art and Technology Design, our teacher’s have at the very least given us some videos to watch. However, I think I’m also going to begin doing some self study. In Technology Design we’ll begin using Auto CAD and I’ve never used the software before. Still, it would be nice to get some practice in before school hopefully starts up again. On the other hand, there is Media Arts. I’ll probably look up some tutorials on Youtube for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. 

Overall, the foreseeable future will be pretty hectic. So far, the teachers haven’t really posted anything on the google classrooms or EDSBY. Information on the current Coronavirus situation regarding school has been hazy at best. At this point, I don’t even know if I’ll still have a school year! In a funny turn of events, by writing this blog I’ve come to realize I’m more worried about my marks than my actual heath. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be a reckless spring breaker and I don’t care about my health. Regardless, I hope this whole Coronavirus pandemic blows over soon.

The Problem With Mobile Tetris

A few days ago, I downloaded a Tetris app on my phone. Suffice to say, I was not satisfied as I felt there was something off about the game. Today I wanted to share my experience and how I think the game could be improved. 

First, in order to understand why I’m dissatisfied with the app, you’ll need to know what Tetris is. Tetris is a world renown puzzle game where you stack blocks on top of each other. You can move these blocks across a 10×20 grid as they slowly fall down the screen, and every time you clear a line it disappears. There are also other features to enhance the game play. One of these features is holding, where you save a block for later use. Another feature is hard dropping, where you instantly place down a block. The goal is too clear as many lines as you can, the caveat being the game speeds up as you clear more lines. 

Normally, the left and right movement would be controlled with keys, D-pad, or joy stick. However, this is not the case in the new Tetris app. It may not come as a surprise but not many smartphones have D-pads or a joy stick, this means the Tetris apps needs another way to move the blocks around. The solutions the developers came up with is using your finger to drag the blocks around, and I have mixed feelings about it. 

The benefit of this decision is the ability to play with one hand, which wasn’t a bad choice on the developers part. These days, I find the ability to play games with one hand makes the game more convenient and accessible. The fact the new Tetris apps wants these appealing selling points doesn’t seem that odd to me. However, by my personal preference I dislike it. It many not seem obvious to a person that’s completely new to Tetris, but this drag option is very restrictive compared to other alternatives. Unlike with a keyboard or D-pad, it is much harder to precisely control blocks. Another disadvantage is the inability to hyper tap, which is when you mash the left or right button to move a block really fast. Personally, I think a virtual D-pad would have been much better option. Still, I do understand the appeal of convenience and why the developers chose this one handed approach. Unfortunately, this leads me to my second gripe with the app.  

If the developers where aiming for a leisure game, which I believe they were, then their game progression is way too fast. Unlike a game like Candy Crush, Tetris requires your active attention. A single misplaced block can spell the end of your game, and this becomes much more prominent the further you get. By the fifth level, I usually found both my hands on the phone and all my attention directed at the game. The moment I needed two hands, the game didn’t feel very leisurely to me. Normally that would be fine, but I feel this makes the convenience of their one handed drag movement completely redundant. Like I said before, I’d much rather settle for a virtual D-pad and buttons. 

However, if they did want to keep their current movement design, I feel they would need to slow the game down even further than it already is. There are several ways this could be done. First, they could slowdown the drop speed. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary fix, and with how the game is design will only prevent the panic induced play of later level. Another solution would be to lower the maximum level or let players set their own level cap. As of now, the current level cap is 15. However, ever for me level 15 feels fairly fast. Instead, I feel level 10 would be a good cap for a leisure game. It is fast enough to feel the progression in difficulty but still possible with one hand. 

Overall, the new Tetris app is interesting. It is indeed fun, but there are several things I believe that could have been done better. Personally, I feel Tetris renditions on smartphones pander too much to convenience and it looses that Tetris feel. However, that is just my personal opinion in where Tetris is going on mobile devices. Regardless, I will continue to try beating my personal record on the new Tetris app. 

C# Test Projects

A few weeks ago, I have been dabbling in C# programming on my own. This week, I want to share what I have learned and how I plan to implement those ideas. 

The first program I created was a basic movement system. In this program, there is a box and it moves to wherever you click your mouse. However, the box only moves to the nearest 10 pixels. The reason for this rounding is that if I have a grid or tile set, the box will end up in one of the tiles or points. In addition, I also created another box that follows the first one. I call this an enemy box. The reason I wanted to do this, was to test enemy ai on a small level. In the future, I hope to have the enemies do more complicated actions. As of now, the only application I can think for this program is making a game similar to snake. I can have multiple boxes follow the leading one and if any of them collide with each other the game is over. 

Next, I created a puzzle system. Basically, there are a bunch of boxes and an equal amount of slots to match. In the program, you can mix and match these slots and boxes. When a slot is filled, the program recognizes it as filled and won’t let you place another box in it. Right now, I can use this system for a mix and match puzzle, but I have so much more planed for it. In the future, I’m thinking I could possibly use this program to create an inventory system. In this system, you could see all your items and possibly equip/un-equip items, this would be really useful if I ever create an RPG like game. In any case, I have a lot planned for this system. 

Finally, the last program I created is a tile set. In the program, there are many boxes that cover the entire screen. I call each one of these boxes a tile. When you hover over a tile with your cursor, the tile changes colour meaning it’s selected. There are also labels that tell you which tile is selected. In the future, I can have the program do specific thing when hovering over a certain tile. For now, each tile is blank and doesn’t do anything, but the possibilities are there. In the future, I might end up creating an entire game around this system. I always wanted to create a tactical strategy game, and this might just be a way to do it. Unfortunately, due to how the tiles work, I fear there will be too many boxes on the screen at once and the program won’t run smoothly. 

In the end, I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head for a game. However, I can’t start it without testing some basic concepts first. As of right now, I’m planing on furthering the puzzle system but will continue the other two programs at some point. All in all, I’m interested where this will lead me. 

Arknight Defenders

Since we’re on an Arknight roll, let’s continue it with Defenders. Like the other classes before it, what makes the Defender class special? Well, like the Vanguards they’re also the result of another game mechanic. So, in order to understand the effect Defenders have on the game, I’ll need to talk about the block system for a bit. 

Like DP, I’ve constantly mentioned block potential. In my mind, the meaning is pretty self explanatory. If an operator has high block, they can block more enemies from moving. It’s kind of confusing if you’ve only experienced traditional tower defence games, so let me explain. Picture a river with water flowing down it, this is the enemies. Now, your operators are dams that block this water. The more block an operator has the higher the dam. As you can see, more block means an operator can stall for longer. Unfortunately, this also brings me to blocks unique relationship with attack. Whether it be magic or physical attack, a high block stat usually brings with it low attack. Remember our dam analogy? Well, now picture each dam with a pipe that can divert water, this is a representation of a units attack value. What this means is that even if a unit has high block, it won’t matter if enemies don’t die. Overall, every unit has a block stat and tend to balance it with their other stats. However, like Guard Assassins and their single block, Defenders like to take things to the extreme. 

Defenders have ridiculous block and defence capabilities. These units throw attack to the wind and solely focus on blocking enemies. Most of the time, these units are incapable of defending a chokepoint on their own. They will almost always be overwhelmed and with no self satiability in terms of HP, they will eventually fall regardless. However, with all this focus on blocking, it gives other units time to take out enemies. The fact an entire class was built around the tanking of enemies, shows how important of a niche Defenders fulfill. It’s is such a simple concept but a staple that can’t be replaced, and because of that they have the highest DP cost of any ground unit. As of now, Defenders will have a block of three. However, this can augmented with skills. The reason I mention this magical number of three, is because every other class has a maximum block of two. It doesn’t sound impressive, but it is when a constant wave of enemies are coming at you. 

At this point, I would begin talking about subsets. Unfortunately, like Vanguards Defenders are lacking in them. Although, that’s not quite true. From what I’ve experienced so far, each Defender has unique traits that make them one of a kind. These unique abilities changes a units play style so much I can’t comfortable group them in subsets. Instead, I’ll be mentioning the Defenders I use and the abilities that make them so unique. 

The first of two Defenders I usually use is called Liskram. What makes her unique is her large attack range. Normally, Defenders can only attack enemies that are on top of them. However, Liskram doesn’t abide by this and can target enemies three tiles away. This absurd attack range, higher than normal attack stat, and ability to take out flying enemies make Liskram quite a special Defender. 

The other Defender I use on a regular basis is Cuora. In the Arknight community, she is highly regarded as a great unit. This due is multiple factors of course, one of them being her useful ability to block four enemies for a limited amount of time. There be plenty of times where not even a three block Defender will suffice because you can’t dispatch enemies fast enough, this is where Cuora shines. It also doesn’t hurt she’s really easy to get, making her a staple for beginners. 

In the end, Defenders will always be need in later stages. Of course they are lacking in attack, but more than makes up for it with their high block and defence capabilities. Without these tanks to block crucial chokepoints your forces would be overwhelmed in seconds. You won’t need many of them, probably one or two, but their presence can definitely be felt on the map. Next time, I’ll likely take a break from the ground units and talk about Healers.

Arknights Vanguards

Like I said last week, I’m going to be covering Vanguards and that’s what I’m going to be talking about. To start, what makes a Vanguard different from every other class? In short, it is their early round abilities and low to mid range cost. Unlike Guards, there are a lot less subsets, two if we’re being specific. However, the Vanguards abilities are also much more connected to a certain game mechanic. In order to get a better grasp of the class, I feel it appropriate too quickly this mechanic first. 

In previous blogs, I have continually mentioned deployment cost. I have never really went into great depth about it because I felt the mechanic was pretty self explanatory. There are units and those units need a cost to deploy them, simple. However, with Vanguards being so dependent on the deployment system, it probably best I explain the system here. At the beginning of every round you start with some DP or deployment points and these point generate every few seconds, eventually capping at 99. These points are used to deploy units. Each operator has a designated cost assigned to them and when deployed their cost is subtracted from your DP. Overall, thats the gist of the deployment system. Other feature such as unit cool down are more specific to classes than the actual deployment mechanic. 

Now that we’ve talked about what DP is, I can explain how Vanguards are related to it. To start off, no matter what subset all Vanguards dabble in DP generation. How this is done varies between subsets, but because of this trait they are very good during early waves. To balance that though, they usually suffer in terms of everything else. Unlike other classes, they don’t particularly access stat wise like Guards or Defenders. In addition, most Vanguards only have two attack tiles and can only be deployed on the ground. The only silver lining to their mostly terrible mediocre stat line is their own deployment cost. With a few notable exceptions, Vanguards have the lowest deployment cost when looking at all factors. I say looking at all factors, because upgrading and rarity can have a huge impact on deployment cost. However, the point is Vanguards are cheap and most of the time, disposable. 

The first subset of Vanguards are the DP on kill (DoK) kind. What separates this subset from the other kind of Vanguard is their trait or passive ability. Specifically, this ability allows you to gain a deployment point every time an enemy is slain. The down side is that they can only block one enemy. However, unlike the Guard Assassins from last week, there isn’t anything particularly good about this single block. Still, this trait usually doesn’t pose a problem when DoKs are used properly. In most scenarios, DoKs are usually the first units deployed to build up DP and the pulled out for more efficient operators. This is supplemented by their other trait which allows for the full return of their DP cost when pulled back. 

On the other hand, we have what I called DP generators. What differentiates this subset is their abilities and block. Unlike DoKs they don’t have a DP related trait and rely solely on their abilities to generate points. Unfortunately, this severely limits their overall viability on a team. In Arknights, an operator’s ability is what defines them and makes them unique. Out of the three potential abilities an operator can use, only one can be equipped at a time. By having your DP generator equip their DP generating skill, they are locked into generating DP and nothing else. A DoK can remain viable in later waves due to their abilities depending on the situations. However, once you’ve built up a substantial amount of DP, your DP generator will be dead weight. Well, I may have been rather harsh but my point stands, for dealing with enemies any other DPS class would be better. 

In the end, Vanguards are an important part of your team. They may not stick around, but they will aid in getting your other units out. There have been countless times I have been swarmed by enemy because I didn’t have enough DP to place operators. When used correctly, Vanguards will ensure that never happens. Next time, I’ll likely touch upon another ground class, Defenders. 

Arknights Guards

Last week, I went over a game called Arknights. In that blog, I talked about the mechanics, how I stumbled across the game, and briefly touched upon the operator classes. However, I also said I would take a deeper look into the classes and I’m starting with the Guard class. 

Guards can generally be defined by their high attack. Out of all the classes in the game, Guards boast the highest melee attack damage. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to this. First, like all melee operators, they can only be deployed to intercept the enemy along their path. Second, with a few exceptions they a really weak against magic attacks. The reason for this is their complete lack of magic resistance. In addition, their health and defence are middle of the road, they’re not bad but leaves much to be desired. As for deployment cost, Guards have a wide range and it really depends on the units rarity. The lower tier operators usually need 10 while higher tiers require 20 deployment points. However, for the most part, Guard operators tend to cost more than Vanguards but less than Defenders. That is to say, they aren’t disposable, but they aren’t expensive either. 

With the general characteristics out of the way, I can begin talking about the different subsets of Guards. What I mean by subset is the role they fulfill on the team. All subsets follow the general characteristics of a Guard, a high attack. However, there are traits that differentiate subsets. An example of this being how many enemies an operator can block. 

To start off, the first subset will be the assassins. Assassins are defined for having the highest attacks of any operators in the game. Even among other Guards, they reign supreme in terms of DPS. The drawback of this feat is that they can only block one enemy at a time. However, this doesn’t mean blocking one enemy is a bad thing, quite the contrary. Due to their single block capabilities, they are perfect for stalling or taking out a specific enemy. When deploying an assassin, they will engage their single target and all other enemies will simply pass through them. To assist in this role, most assassins have skills to temporarily raising their DPS, boosting their already absurd attack stat. When used correctly, a single assassin can take down a boss all on their own. 

Next, there are the AOE Guards. These Guards are notorious for needing a lot of investment before performing well. Like the name implies, they are able to attack multiple enemies at once. To be more specific, they can attack every enemy they’re blocking, usually two. The drawback to this is that they have the lowest attack of all Guards, which is why they aren’t good unless properly invested in. When you take away the attack of a Guard, they are left in quite an awkward position. They don’t have enough attack to properly qualify as a ‘Guard’ but not enough defence to be a Defender. What this means is that each AOE Guard is quite niche and defined by their abilities. An example of this is the operator Spectre. She is an AOE Guard and has a temporary immortality ability, making her excellent at defending chokepoints by herself. It is because of this one ability Spectre is highly regarded as the best AOE Guard. 

After AOE Guards, there are the Long Range Guards. Unlike other Guards, they have the largest attack range of any Guard subset. Most Guards can only attack in two tiles, but LRGs can cover eight. Like every other subset though, there are scarifies for this. In this case, if the enemy isn’t on top of the operator or one tile away, attacks are lessened by twenty precent. The silver lining to this though is that they deal magic damage and can hit flying enemies. I personally find this subset the most versatile, as the ability to dispatch flying enemies is quite a huge boon. The reason for this is as game increases in difficulty, there are less and less spot to place down your ranged operators. In some cases there might even be times when you can’t deploy range operators. In cases like these LRG or other units with similar capabilities are essential. 

Finally, we have the Art Guards. What this means, is that they trade in their physical damage for magic damage. Like other Guards, they still have a two tile attack range and can only be deployed on the ground. What makes this subset unique is the ability to take out enemies with high defence. In most cases besides the Art Guard and LRG subsets, the only classes able to deal magic damage are Casters and Supporters with a few exceptions. Make note of the fact both classes I just mentioned fall under the range category. Like I said before, tiles to place ranged operators become far sparser as the game progress. Without magic damage dealers enemies with high defence can be particularly troublesome. While both LRGs and Art Guards can take out high defence enemies, the latter are specifically tailored to do it. However, this trait make Art Guards incredibly niche and as of now, there is only one Art Guard released globally. 

Overall, Guards can be quite versatile. Although there are many kinds, they all serve the same role of DPS dealers. They won’t the first operator you’ll be deploying, but they will definitely be needed as the waves of enemies increase. Next time, I will likely continue this series by talking about Vanguard operators.  


For the past week or so I’ve been playing a game called Arknights, and today I want to talk about it. To start off, it’ll probably be best to explain what Arknight is and how I encountered it.

To summarize, Arknights is produced by Yostar, a China based company that produces apps for IOS and Android. Prior to playing Arknights, I was actively playing Azur Lane, another app of Yostar. During my time play Azur Lane, I joined a Discord server that’s made of people who enjoy playing games like Arknights and Azur Lane. By joining this server, I learned of the Arknight global beta. The app seemed pretty interesting, so I kept an eye on Arknights. It also helped Arknights was produced by Yostar, a company I know that can source good art and voice actors. At this point the rest is history, I waited for the official release and I’m currently playing the game. With that summery out of the way, I can start actually start talking about why the game is so intriguing. 

Arknights, is a combination of two different types of games. The first of these two types is tower defence. In tower defence games, you typically need to defend an objective with towers. The enemy travel down a predetermined path and you can strategically place towers along the route. On the other hand, the second type of game is strategy games. In these games, you place down units and control them by giving certain orders, examples being movement or special abilities. In Arknights, the enemy still travel down a predetermined path. However, you can place down your units or operators almost anywhere on the map. What this means is that unlike other tower defence games, you actually block the waves of enemies. In my mind, this adds another level of strategy. 

Unfortunately, the enemy is this game are pretty typical. They have weakness and advantages, but they aren’t anything you wouldn’t see in other tower defence games. However, what really drives the amazing map system is the operators or units. In the game, there are eight classes Vanguard, Guard, Defence, Medic, Caster, Sniper, Support, and Special. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. However, I’ll like make another video going into each class at a later date.

What we need to know now is that each class has their own role and can be broadly split into two categories. Vanguard, Guard, and Defence operators can only be placed on the ground. Meanwhile, Medic, Caster, Sniper, and Support units can only be placed on high ground unless stated otherwise. The only exception to this rule is Special, because certain operators in this class and bypass the restriction. The game does indeed let you place operators almost anywhere on the map, they just restrict certain operators to certain terrain. 

Overall, Arknights is a complex game that involves a lot of strategy. In the future, I hope to talk about all the class in depth and explore their uses. 

What is Gender Bending?

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I thought it was about time I continue this series. This week, I’m going to be talking about gender-bending in manga and anime. A term some may be familiar with but other not so much. 

In its purest form, gender bending is exactly what it says. In most cases, there is a character that gets his or her gender switched. However, people masquerading or controlling an avatar of the opposite gender can also fall under gender-bending. A very simple term compared to previous ones. The reason I didn’t cover this term earlier is because gender-bending isn’t unique. It’s something that’s has been thoroughly explored, but I feel the Japanese play around with this concept more often than others, hence why I’m talking about it here.  

So, what does gender bending add to a story? So far from what I have seen, there are two flavours of this. The first is that the gender-bend is integral to the plot, meaning the protagonist gets gender swapped more often than not. The second is that the gender-bend is not integral to the plot, meaning a one off or supporting character gets gender swapped. In this blog, I’ll be ignoring the second category. Most of the time, the gender swap is just an aspect of the character and adds to their complexity. Other than that, their gender swap doesn’t really effect the overall story besides when the plot focuses on it. At that point, it’s more like the supporting character temporally assumes the role of the protagonist, because it’s their story arc. My point is, that if an author decides to put gender-bending into their story, it either holds a really significant role or none at all. Gender-bending isn’t something you can just touch upon, instead it’s something the author builds upon. Regardless, in either case the author will end up focusing on the gender bending at some point. 

Now, the question becomes if gender-bending is so important to the plot, what’s the plot? In my experience with gender bending, each story adds their own twist. Almost none of the manga I’ve read has what I could consider identical plots with a fresh coat of paint. However, this won’t mean I can’t list some more general trends of how gender-bending is used. 

The first trend, is usually getting their original body back. In stories like these, for whatever reason, the protagonist looses their original gender to due to an incident and must find a way to get it back. The inciting incident can be super natural in nature or completely sci-fi. That is reason this trend is so broad, if I narrowed the conditions down any further it could hardly be considered a trend. A good example of this trend is Ranma 1/2.

The second one, is what I call adapting. For these stories, the protagonist can no longer get their body back. Instead, they must now adapt to their new body and live out the rest of their life. Due to the slightly boring nature of this type of gender bending, it is most often seen in romance scenarios. For example, one of my favourite manga uses this kind of scenario. It involves two childhood friends. They are both male and one of them has a fear of girls. During their second year in high school, one of the males get turned into a female due to an irreversible disease. I personally just found the plot really intriguing, it lead to so much character development between the two friends and their eventual romance. 

Forth, is a rather short one I call VRMMO. Personally, I consider this more of an extension of the first. Basically, in this plot there is usually a VRMMO involved. In this MMO, the protagonist controls a character of the opposite gender, more often than not for comedic purposes. Notable examples of this are Prince 1/2 and Only Sense Online.

Finally, the last trend is hiding gender. Like trend number two, this one usually involves heavy amounts romance. In stories like these, the male or female lead needs to crossdress for whatever reason. Examples of some of the more popular reasons are to join a gender specific club or to join a certain group. For this reason, the hiding gender trend is usually associated with the sports and drama genres. Regardless of the reason for their joining, the crossdressing lead eventually falls in love for one of the other club members or their coworker, depending on the situation. In the end, the crossdressing lead ends up playing a dangerous game of hiding and pursuing their love, which is fun to read most of the time. Compared to other forms of gender-bending, this trend is much more grounded in reality.

Overall, I hope the explanation I gave was satisfactory to those who didn’t know much about the topic. Although gender-bending is fairly well known topic, I feel there are plenty of ways to explore it. Personally, I find it a shame that there aren’t more good gender-bending stories out there. Next time, I’ll probably cover the terms I mentioned weeks ago, Yaoi and Yuri.