Episode 229: The 6th Annual Flash Fiction Spooktacular!


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Episode 229 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on iTunes, or right click here to download.

In this week’s episode, I return to Jesse Bradley’s Halloween installment of his prose reading series, There Will Be Words.


Jesse Bradley, Karen Best, Shawn McKee, Teege Braune, John King, & Jared Silvia.


Erik Deckers

Plus a final performance from The Terrible Mr. Sundrop.

Mr Sundrop

Episode 229 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on iTunes, or right click here to download.


The Curator of Schlock #159: It! The Terror from Beyond Space


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The Curator of Schlock #159 by Jeff Shuster

It! The Terror from Beyond Space

Huh? What’s beyond space?


 Your curator had a nightmare the other night. In my dream, there was a raccoon tapping at my bedroom window. I tried shooing it away, but the raccoon got real angry, scratching the glass with its claws. Then it came back with a screwdriver and proceeded to crack the glass some more. And then a whole gang of raccoons started beating on the glass. My alarm clock saved me from seeing the conclusion, no doubt my being shredded to death by furry vermin.

I remember back in high school, I went to throw the garbage out, only to witness the contents of the can outside being scavenged by a bunch of raccoons. When I tried to shoo them away, one of them took a swipe at me.


An inch closer and I might not be writing this blog right now.

My point is: I don’t get the point of NASA. We have enough horrible creatures on this planet without venturing forth into the galaxy to discover new ones. I have enough problems with raccoons, jellyfish, and bumblebees without feeling the need to add more to the roster. Case in point, tonight’s feature: It! The Terror from Beyond Space, a 1958 gem from director Edward L. Cahn. This one features a crew on a spaceship being picked off one by one by a space alien.


Hmmmmmm. This movie seems familiar to me. It kind of reminds me of that movie Ridley Scott directed, The Martian. You know, the one where Matt Damon is an astronaut stranded on Mars where he has to “science the shit out everything” while he waits to be rescued. It! The Terror from Beyond Space also features an astronaut stranded on Mars. His name is Col. Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thimpson) and he is the sole survivor of a crew of nine. When the rescue spaceship lands on Mars, the crew takes him into custody, figuring he murdered his crew to get access to their rations. He claims that some alien killed the crew, so it’s unlike Ridley Scott’s The Martian in that respect. It also doesn’t feature a middle-aged Robin Hood and Maid Marian battling an invading French army so technically it’s unlike Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, too.


 Anyway, this new crew figures Carruthers went space-crazy, making the creature up in his head to alleviate his guilt over murdering his spacemates. While watching this movie, I came to the conclusion that space travel may not be so bad. I mean you have these astronauts enjoying the comforts of a good game of chess while smoking cigars and drinking wild turkey.


I could think of worse ways to spend one’s time while traveling the stars. Like being horribly mutilated by the Martian monster that snuck aboard your spaceship while you were too busy reading the riot act to the man who murdered his crew, but claimed that a Martian monster did them in. And this Martian monster looks like a bit like a pigman. He’s got the snout and everything.


Not that you should confuse him with the Pigman of Angola, NY. What? You’ve never heard of the Pigman of Angola, NY? Well, I’ll tell you the story next week, kiddies. I have to go.

I think I spotted a raccoon outside my window.

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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

McMillan’s Codex #57: Berserk Musou (Trailer Analysis)

McMillan’s Codex 57 By C.T. McMillan

Berserk Musou (Trailer Analysis)

 One of the great things about this blog is getting to talk about whatever I want. My pieces on Dawn of War were excuses to talk about Warhammer 40k. When I wanted to write about cyber punk, I reviewed cyber punk games. Now I am analyzing a trailer to talk about one of my favorite manga and anime series: Berserk Musou.


Berserk is the story of Guts, a mercenary driven by bloodlust in the war-torn kingdom of Midland. After one battle, he joins the Band of the Hawk led by the charismatic Griffith on his own journey to greatness. That is about as much as I can say without spoilers.

One unique aspect of Berserk is the historical fantasy setting. The time period is roughly grounded in the latter years of the 100 Years War with crossbows, cannons, intricate plate mail armor, and castles. There are also supernatural beings with elements of Lovecraft and body horror just behind the curtain of this seemingly medieval world. On top of these visually stunning elements are the usual manga tropes of big impractical weapons and characters that border on superhuman.

What makes Berserk a great story is its themes. One theme is Man versus God. The later parts of the series focus heavily on characters working towards a goal that stands in the face of their fate.

Another theme is the dueling ambitions of two characters that are bound together and how their desires affect each other. Encompassing the whole is a very dark tone that sets the series apart from normal manga and anime fare. There are atrocities, rape, and grotesque imagery that could only come from nightmares.


Berserk Musou’s trailer has a lot to say in terms of gameplay. As per the signature of developer Koei Tecmo, the genre is large scale hack ‘n’ slash. You fight hundreds of enemies at once on a closed map. There are combos, special moves, and you can play as multiple characters. There are also mild RPG elements and item usage. A lot of Koei Tecmo games follow this formula within the context of another property like Zelda, Gundam, and their Dynasty series.

Musou is the same, but in the Berserk universe. The playable characters include Guts, Griffith, Casca, and a small host of other familiar faces. The enemies you fight are not unlike the same soldiers and monsters the characters encounter. I cannot tell how close the game’s story follows the manga/anime story, but based on the available characters and Guts’ look, Musou may cover everything up until the infamous boat arc. Because Berserk is also unfinished, I doubt Koei Tecmo will make up their own ending, lest they incur the wrath of us fans.

According to the trailer, some of the cinematics will consist of clips taken from the Berserk: Golden Age anime movie trilogy that was released not long ago. This was a reboot of the first anime that came out in the 90s, but with a lot of added content from the manga. The trilogy was a jumping off point for the new anime that follows the Black Swordsman arc, 20 years after the original anime. As a fan, the new anime is a big deal despite the poor animation. 


Berserk as a manga/anime was almost made to be a videogame. While you may lose a lot of the nuance and themes that make the series great, the ability to slaughter soldiers and monsters in droves as Guts is just awesome. We fans have been pining for a proper videogame adaptation, a continuation of the anime, and an end to the manga hiatus before author Kentaro Miura dies. Hopefully Berserk Musou will satisfy our epic enjoyment of this story in dynamic game form.


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C.T. McMillan (Episode 169) is a film critic and devout gamer.  He has a Bachelors for Creative Writing in Entertainment from Full Sail University.

Episode 228: Readings from HP Lovecraft


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Episode 228 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on iTunes, or right click here to download.

On this week’s show, I present a quartet of readings from HP Lovecraft: “The Beast in the Cave,” “The Tree,” “Beyond the Wall of Sleep,” and “From Beyond.”

Our readers are Chris Booth,

Chris Booth

Elise McKenna, and Tom Lucas.

Elise & Tom Lovecraft Roundtable




This episode is a companion to Episode 227, a roundtable discussion of Lovecraft.

If you like this show’s readings, check out the previous literary reading episode, 123, on the year without a summer that spawned the ghost story contest between Lord Byron, the Shelleys, and Dr. Polidori.

If you are near Orlando on October 19th, come to Horror Movie Poetry Night 3.


The Curator of Schlock #158: KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park


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The Curator of Schlock #158 by Jeff Shuster

KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park

(Your curator wants to rock n’ roll all night and party everyday!)

Oh boy! Does your Curator of Shock have a treat for you today! KISS has entered The Museum of Schlock, helping us to party down like it’s 1978. Tonight’s presentation is Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. Kind of an odd title. Wouldn’t KISS Versus the Phantom of the Park have been a more accurate? Why am I asking you? Have you seen the movie? John King has. He recommended it to me. I’ll have to thank him for that one day.


So from the title you might be expecting this to be some hip retread of The Phantom of the Opera. It isn’t really. The park in question is Magic Mountain. I’ve never been there. I grew up in New Jersey where we had Action Park, the world’s most dangerous theme park, but that’s a topic for another time. We’re here to talk about KISS, who are nowhere to be seen for like the first 30 minutes of this made-for-TV movie.


This is a problem when they’re the main protagonists of the story. We see some gang member types causing trouble in the park, the kind that Jeff Goldblum hung out with in the first Death Wish movie. We’re introduced to a young woman named Melissa (Deborah Ryan) and her boyfriend, Terry (Sam Farell). They have a conversation about something, but the ADR is so bad that I can’t pay attention to anything they’re saying because their words don’t match up to their lips!

Terry works for Abner Devereaux, the genius behind all the park’s rides and audio animatronic creations. He’s upset with the park owner over the fact that his Wally the Walrus display was replaced with KISS band cutouts for the upcoming concert. Yes, KISS is doing some live shows at Magic Mountain. I guess the owner of the park decided that teens would be more interested in rock n’ roll than audio animatronic figures of walruses. He fires Abner later that day for making a dangerous teacup ride or something like that.

I have to say that Abner is a bit of a nerdlinger. In fact, I would argue he’s the king of the nerdlingers. When Melissa is visiting his workshop, Abner delights her with an audio animatronic barbershop quartet. Nerd alert! Melissa is trying to find her fiancé, Terry, who’s gone missing. Abner lies about not having seen him, but Abner has, in fact, turned Terry into a robot slave. Abner is plotting revenge on KISS and Magic Mountain!


KISS finally arrives to put on a concert for the ages, all the while showing off some of their super powers. We have Gene Simmons as the Demon, who can breathe fire and growl like a lion.


Peter Criss is Catman or the Catman. He has whiskers painted on his face and can jump real high. Paul Stanley is the Starchild and he can shoot laser beams from his eyes like Cyclops from the X-Men, but without the need to wear shades. Then, we have Ace Frehley as Space Ace. I think he can teleport. The band gets their super powers from these magical medallions they keep in their dressing room. It’s also guarded by a force field so you had better watch out if you have sticky fingers.


Uhhh…Where was I? Oh yeah, Abner creates an android Gene Simmons to terrorize the park. The robot beats up the park’s security guards. The park owner figures it was the real Gene, but doesn’t press him on the whole security guard beat down because he needs the band to play again for the next few nights. I think Melissa gets them to help her look for her missing boyfriend. They do battle with android monkey men, ninjas, kung fu masters, Dracula, Frankentstein, and the Mummy before finally getting captured and stuck in a laser beam cage. Abner got his hands on their medallions and KISS is powerless!


Abner’s big plan is to have his KISS robot doubles sing some naughty lyrics that will cause the kids in the audience to riot and destroy the park. The real KISS manages to retrieve their medallions through psychic levitation, getting to the concert in time to demolish their robot duplicates.


They free Melissa’s fiancé from the mind control Abner had him under. All is well, except for poor Abner. When KISS finally meets him, he’s dead. I guess he got electrocuted at some point during the final battle. In effect, they didn’t really meet The Phantom of the Park at all. Hanna-Barbera lied to us.


Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park was an attempt by the band to reinvent themselves as superheroes. Think about it. You could have had KISS fighting the Legion of Doom alongside Superman and Wonder Woman, but sadly this would never come to pass. In fact, the band disavowed this movie for some reason.

Many of you are probably wondering how I feel about the band KISS. Are they rock n’ roll icons or an exercise in nimrodery? I don’t know.

I do like that “Calling Dr. Love” song.


Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.


21st Century Brontë #28: The Shelf, and Finishing the Draft

21st Century Brontë #28 by Brontë Bettencourt

The Shelf, and Finishing the Draft

I finally started writing the first book to a series that I’ve been imagining for years, and it’s awful.

By awful, I mean the writing process. I feel like I’m slamming my head against the paper until my blood somehow congeals into the right words.

I’m midway through chapter two. My narrator, Ellie, encounters several characters who will later accompany her on her journey. I know what needs to be foreshadowed, as well as where and how Ellie’s character is established. I know her internal guilt, and apprehension as she goes about her daily routine.

I’ve known all of this for years. All I have to do is finish the draft.

I’ve become obsessed with completing this story. I bought a small notebook so I can write whenever I have a free moment. I jot down sentences during slow periods at work, during breaks, and on outings with friends. If I keep at it every day, I’ll eventually have the book finished, even if it’s only a few sentences at a time. Then, once edited and published, I might be able to support myself via my own writing.

The first few chapters outlined on my wall.

novel-planUp until a few months ago, my plan felt totally sound. But yet again I’ve stopped writing the story.

The majority of my writing sessions are fueled by determination to get the draft down. Over the course of several years I’ve created outlines detailing the chapters so I can compartmentalize the story, instead of feeling overwhelmed by an entire novel. I’ve changed the events to accommodate my own growing interests, and free wrote to keep myself intrigued by my permutations of the unfolding tale.

I knew that inspiration would not be enough to complete of the story. But I’ve begun to wonder if there ever was a drive to complete this book to begin with.

The reason why I created this story in the first place was to keep Ellie and her immediate circle alive. I poured years into developing their personalities and back-stories. I didn’t want all of that development to go to waste, and I was certain that if I created a story intriguing enough, others would also fall in love with these characters.

I became so consumed with creating another world, with its intricacies that I forgot what entertained me in the first place: characters. Why the hell did I create a story in which Ellie becomes separated from her brothers early on, when the charm rests in their relationships? Why am I spending so much time world building, when I really enjoy deepening the characters?

Because of this book, I’ve become stagnant. For me it’s comfortable to not pursue other projects until this series has been completed.

And years have passed.

So often I was taught to keep working on a piece until it’s been seen through to completion. If a story isn’t working, put it in a drawer and don’t touch it until a later time. I understand now why artists juggle so many projects; no one can afford to sit on a single idea until it chooses to come to fruition.

Sometimes a project needs to be reworked from the foundation up.

I’m considering building the story up from scratch, but I think shelving everything – including the characters – might be the best action. Even in my busiest times my mind wandered back to how Ellie would react to a monumental final, or what her opinion is on a new film. I would still feel guilty if I completely gave up on these characters.

For the last two months, I was consumed with graduate school applications. I spent the majority of that time on the twenty-page writing sample. With just over a week until the deadline I had about eighteen pages’ worth of freewrites, strung together by the reoccurring characters. I had magic, a love interest, and dream sequences, all wrapped up in a character who worked too much and created too little.

My editor told me that my writing sample would’ve ended up in the “No” pile.

I made the awful mistake of beginning my story with a dream sequence. But more importantly, my lack of confidence in the piece was glaringly obvious in over-description and underdevelopment of ideas. I was so concerned with the page count and impressing the universities that I forgot how to just tell the story.

I rewrote the entire story in two days, easily exceeding the page count that took me a month and a half.

My editor forced me to state that I would not worry about the page count, and I think that’s what helped me the most. With the deadline rapidly approaching, I didn’t have time to second-guess my writing, freeing me to make decisions.

I’ve made the decision to scrap my novel idea. I’m now working on a new idea involving Ellie and the crew, and because the idea is fairly new, the concept doesn’t feel overwhelming. The story feels like an alternate reality fan-fiction to the original idea, which allows me the same freedom I experienced with my writing sample. I can also focus more on the characters’ relationships and personalities.

Maybe it will flourish. I can also assure you that it does not begin with a dream sequence.


Bronte as a Bag with LegsBrontë Bettencourt (Episode 34Episode 221) graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in English Creative Writing. When she’s not writing or working, she is a full time Dungeon Master and Youtube connoisseur.



Episode 227: HP Lovecraft Roundtable!


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Episode 227 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on iTunes, or right click here to download.

In this week’s episode, I and my inestimable guests have a fine conversation about Lovecraft and his bizarre tales and his rather strange life and his exceptionally unfortunate opinions

The participants included Elise McKenna, Tom Lucas,

Elise & Tom Lovecraft RoundtableJulian Chambliss,

Julian Lovecraft Roundtableand Dianne Turgeon Richardson.

Diane Lovecraft Roundtable


This looks like a 1980s era Penguin book, right?

call-of-cthulu the-new-annotated-h-p-lovecraftweird-tales-july-1933-the-dreams-in-the-witch-house-and-the-horror-in-the-museum


An author photo can look unintentionally scarier than the horror book cover sometimes.




The Curator of Schlock #157: The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires


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The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires by Jeff Shuster

Shaw Brothers meets Hammer. Did someone lose a bet?

Hey, Halloweenies, it’s the time of year again, time for your Curator of Schlock to transform into the Curator of Shock! And I’ve got some scary movies this month. At the behest of his editor, John King, he will be reviewing Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, but not this week. Anything involving Kiss deserves extra attention from your curator and with Hurricane Matthew barreling down on my fair city this weekend, your curator is a tad distracted.

In the meantime, let’s talk about a movie about kung fu vampires or something to that effect. Yes, the legendary Hammer Studios meets the legendary Shaw Brothers Studio in the legendary mash up, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.


How many Hammer movies have I reviewed on this blog? I think there were that Satan movie with Nastassja Kinski and that Rasputin movie with Christopher Leethat Rasputin movie with Christopher Lee who also starred in that Satan movie with Nastassja Kinski. I haven’t reviewed any Shaw Brothers movies, so this will be a first for the Museum of Schlock.

Our movie starts out with some Chinese monk named Kah (Shen Chan) visiting Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania. Kah is a worshiper of the 7 Golden Vampires, but they’re sleeping right now and he needs Count Dracula to bedazzle them with his vampire powers and wake them up. Count Dracula (John Forbes-Robertson) says he doesn’t grant the wishes of minions, but decided to steal Kah’s likeness and travel to China so he can command the 7 Golden Vampires to help him take over the country. I guess he kills Kah while taking over his visage? The movie isn’t clear. I don’t like it when movies aren’t clear.


So Professor Lawrence Van Helsing (Peter Cushing)is visiting some Chinese University, giving a lecture on Vampires to an assembly of students and professors. Van Helsing believes that vampirism originated in China. Huh? That doesn’t make any sense. The students and professors chide him for presenting his superstitious European beliefs to an advanced country such as China. I feel kind of bad for Van Helsing in this scene. He comes off as way past his prime, his glory days of fighting Dracula a now distant memory. I can’t help but imagine him stealing the towels from the hotel he’s staying in.


And then we have Van Helsing’s son, Leyland Van Helsing (Robin Stewert) who comes off as a bit of a twit. He meets a wealthy suffragette named Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege). She’s also a widow and the movie is unclear as to whether or not she’s murdered her husband because it isn’t mentioned in any way, shape, or form. At first I thought the movie was setting up a romance between Leyland and Vanessa, but they end up falling in love with other characters, namely one of the seven brothers and the one sister of the Hsi family.


Yes, there are seven brothers and one sister that are all experts in deadly martial arts. Hsi Ching (David Chiang) is the eldest and leader of the group. Van Helsing convinces them to embark on an expedition to a long, lost Chinese village where the 7 Golden Vampires are supposed to reign. Along the way, Van Helsing discovers that vampires in China fear the image of Lord Buddha instead of Jesus Christ.


Ummmm. I don’t understand how that works. If you’re a vampire living in China and were a Christian before you were turned, do you fear Lord Buddha or Jesus Christ? Van Helsing doesn’t bother to explain any further. Are the Chinese vampires a different undead species from the European ones?


They look like they have crap smeared on their faces instead of clown makeup like Count Dracula does. I don’t like horror/kung fu movies that make me think! And I didn’t get to see Count Dracula use any kung fu in this movie!

He didn’t even do a crane dance!



Jeffrey Shuster 3

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.


21st Century Brontë #27: Just the Right Amount of Noise

21st Century Brontë #27 by Brontë Bettencourt

Just the Right Amount of Noise

When I worked in unemployment, I needed background noise in order to break the silence, to be able to focus on the tedium. Radio and music stopped working after a while because eventually they just became part of the tedious silence.

That was when I resorted to YouTube.

Now when I’m working on chores, or when I’ve ran too many mental circles around story elements, I’ll load YouTube on my phone and listen to YouTubers’ movie reviews, or writers relay their writing tips and tricks. But my favorite genre of YouTube are Let’s Plays, where YouTubers record their own videogame play-through as well as their reactions.


Some of my friends criticize me for watching Let’s Play videos, since being exposed to them ruins my chance at enjoying these games as a player. If I had copious free time and income, then I would totally play the hell out of these games myself. Until I become a vampire, food and time are precious. And if I did choose to buy a video game, then I want to make sure that my money is not wasted. I want to be sure that the game captivates me with compelling characters, an intricate narrative, and polished gameplay mechanics. Go ahead and play, Let’s Play.

I don’t watch Let’s Plays just for the game; the YouTuber themselves add to the game with their reactions. Their presence creates an atmosphere of someone nearby, engaging in a casual activity in the room. The noise keeps me from overthinking the piece. Because I’m hearing and thus focusing on the words of another, I visualize the story’s sequence of events. The casual nature of Let’s Plays also keeps my own writing session lighthearted; with silence and even music, I sometimes focus too much on how to construct the sentence, and not drafting the story. I forget that I do not need to create the perfect balance of story and style in the first draft, and it is near impossible to do so without some form of divine intervention. Let’s Plays keep me from getting fixated on technical execution, and they also serve as a reminder of the very human who creates a masterful work. I’m really just watching someone sitting in their videogame den, recording and editing without thinking of the impact of some greater meaning to their work. Their work just happens to be enjoyed by the public, which keeps me humble about my own creations.

But I can only write to videos I’ve already watched. If I’m watching a video for the first time, then my mind focuses too much on that and not writing. I also can’t listen to the more boisterous Let’s Players like Markiplier or Jacksepticeye while I am writing, since their personalities are what draw people to the game. Instead I watch quieter Youtubers such as Cryaotic, who may speak once in a while, but ultimately allows the game to speak for itself.

My exception to this rule is during my off time. Although I’m not actively thinking about my writing as I am watching Let’s Plays, the story is unconsciously processing. When least expected, an issue will figure itself out when I focus on these videos.

Many YouTube artists play multiple videogame genres, appealing to a multitude of fans. I feel like I’m getting to know a person without the messy trial and error of interaction, and them playing the game promotes it to their fan bases, providing PR for the game creators.

The YouTuber Jacksepticeye worded the interaction well during his playthrough of the game The Beginner’s Guide. These YouTube videos are snippets of the creator’s life that they choose for us to see. “When you get the full compilation of everything, is that when you begin to understand who this person is that you’re watching,” he explained.

Like pulling textual evidence from a piece of literature in order to support a hypothesis, the different videos help the viewer understand the YouTuber as a rounded person, and not some perfect being. But like how a character or idea can exist only by the evidence given in the source material, we can only know the individual through the “snippets” that they allow us to see. The effect is like what reality television promised, but never delivered.

Only recently are people recognizing this as a field to make money, and companies are realizing the promotion of their product provided by Lets Players. But the companies need to believe that the Let’s Player’s online draw is great enough to offer a sponsorship, otherwise the company is losing money.

The motivation for a Let’s Player to post content with no guarantee of success, says a lot about artists, or just people in general. There must be a willingness to share, to reach out to others about a game that he or she felt compelled to record. There must be a drive to entertain others, and to think that one is entertaining enough to record and post online. With such a huge margin for error I believe there’s a selflessness to Let’s Playing.


I also think these videos say something about the difficulty I face whenever I need to write. Instead of distracting myself with the lives of over 300 friends on Facebook, I occupy myself with a single person. I mentioned that these videos give the illusion of being connected to another, which in a sense keeps me from being fully alienated from the up to date information that the internet provides. With how quickly we receive information today, the lack of statuses and articles makes me fidget. Maybe Let’s Play videos are a happy medium between silence and too much information, like a Diet Infodump. They are a wavelength that fuels my subconscious, keeps my Muses awake.

Youtube Let’s Plays are a lesser evil in the sense that I should perhaps be totally isolated in order to engage my craft. But the videos serve as a reminder of why my stories are worth sharing. If a Let’s Player can attract a following with video editing, sound effects and the right reactions to pivotal game play moments, then there is a crowd for a well written story.


21st Cen Bronté

Brontë Bettencourt (Episode 34Episode 221) graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in English Creative Writing. When she’s not writing or working, she is a full time Dungeon Master and Youtube connoisseur.


McMillan’s Codex #56: Homicide v. Everyone


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McMillan’s Codex #56 by C.T. McMillan

Homicide v. Everyone

Back in April I reported on a lawsuit against Jim Sterling by developer Digital Homicide. DigiHom was suing for $11 million on 10 counts of libel after Sterling negatively reviewed their games. It has been almost two years since the feud began and there has yet to be a resolution. I sympathize with DigiHom, because when artists are criticized after devoting a lot of time and effort into their creations in a very competetive field, trying to just move on can be difficult. Criticism is an attack and I understand why they would have this sort of reaction.

And now I am going to take back everything I just wrote.


I am not the most active on Twitter, but when I see something that interests me, I pay attention. Bro Team Pill is on there daily, perusing the Internet for madness that brings him comfort in knowing there are people more insane than himself. Since the Crash Override Network leaks ironically exposed the anti-trolling group as trolls themselves, he has found great pleasure in posting screenshots of documents with his reaction.

One day I was looking at all the nonsense and spotted the above excerpt from what looked like a court document. I know whom Karl Pilkington because he is the whipping boy of Ricky Gervais on Idiot Abroad and The Ricky Gervais Show. The use of his name is obviously a joke. What caught my attention was that this was somehow a serious piece of evidence. I searched through Bro Team’s tweets and found another choice quote:


I thought back to the interview between Sterling and DigiHom’s Robert Romine. The game Shooter Tactics described in the post was the subject of Sterling’s criticism and the developer responded with a tirade brought upon by trolling commenters. I was reminded of the interview because Romine described the emotional turmoil that Sterling inadvertently caused by creating a movement of trolls to target his games. I asked Bro Team if the excerpt was related to the Sterling/Digihom feud and found myself vindicated.


I did more digging and discovered the would-be developer had sued an entire Steam Group. (A Steam group is like any other social media group, but on the Steam digital distribution service.) The members of the Group in question, “Digital Homicides,” are being charged with harassment, stalking, and tortious interference for $18 million. Because the 100 members use screen names, James Romine, DigiHom’s representative, did not have anyone to target. The company that created Steam called Valve was then sent a subpoena for the personal information of the “Digital Homicides” Steam Group members. In response, Valve pulled every one of DigiHom’s games from distribution. As of now, there has been no word from the Romines on the situation.


Often we root for the little guy, the downtrodden that are so low they cannot easily fight back. For a while I was on DigiHom’s side. I have never been criticized to the point I felt offended because I do not take anything that seriouslyly. Nevertheless, I could still feel sorry for them. But the drama with “Digitital Homicides” is beyond the pale of inappropriate. To sue average commenters for not liking your terrible games is attempting censorship. Their recent behavior has not only changed by opinion of the situation, but my feelings on them as a “developer” and individuals. They are pissed off hacks so desperate for recognition that they have made themselves an enemy to all, and utterly destroyed any credibility they might have had in the videogame world. I hope they learn a hard, expensive lesson from the mess they have made.

Aristotle once said, “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Because DigiHom is so driven by ego and arrogance, they could not ignore the negativity deservedly heaped upon their games.  Criticism of games is like any other medium, but these days some of us have become too fragile to take even constructive criticism.  If you cannot tolerate criticism, just say, do, and be nothing.

Or listen and grow stronger.


CT McMillan 1

C.T. McMillan (Episode 169) is a film critic and devout gamer.  He has a Bachelors for Creative Writing in Entertainment from Full Sail University.