LVLS has been many things over its long tenure online. Beginning as Wildcat Online as a Tripod site, then transitioning to LVLs. when I moved to WordPress, the site has evolved into a primarily video game focused sphere of my writing. As of May 2019, I have merged both my academic games writing and my …well, less academic writing onto this domain, effectively making it LVLS+.
The academic side includes papers and essays specifically tied to my research interests. I am slowly uploading my paper on my UC Merced research project, First & Frequent Fantasy: UC Merced Women and Gaming, here, as well as other original research. I am currently documenting localization efforts on the NES and Famicom consoles in a series titled Culture Clash!, as well as a chronological examination of women in NES and Famicom games, Femicom. I also look into other areas related to video games, gender and gaming culture, including my essay “Beyond Good & Evil: The state of Gender and Video Games in 2013 , as well as my series “Gender Gazette“. I also self-examine my own personal relationship with games, such as my essay “Continue?: Bullies, Video Games and the Concept of an Extra Life.” It may be several weeks in between these kinds of posts, although my goal is to try to post at least one to two articles on this level here a month.
As for the more lighthearted fare, I add art, music and opinion pieces on video games and occasionally other topics. As I work a 8 – 5 job during the week, I don’t have the time/energy to write on here as much as I’d like, but I do try to post these kinds of posts a few times a week.
Comments, likes and social media sharing options are disabled. All of my academic work here will maintain a high degree of professionalism, and will be sourced properly if required. Game music, screenshots and artwork will be included if I feel that the inclusion adds emphasis to the topic at hand. Images come courtesy of many sources, and I have made a specific post compiling my major sources, and will attempt to keep it up with future updates.
For copyright’s sake: All of the games, books, anime, music, characters and artwork featured on this site are trademarks of their respective owners. This blog provides an academic perspective onto the correlation between video games and culture, and I am not attempting to infringe or claim any legal rights over any part of the games presented here themselves. The words, however, are mine (outside of outside sources, which will be properly linked, captioned and/or referenced, depending on the article).
And now, my personal bio:
Age – 36
Hobbies – gaming, drawing, photography, creative and critical writing, reading, theater, collecting old books and video game stuff, fencing (the sword variety), analyzing games anthropologically, trying new things
Broadly speaking, my research interests (and what you can expect here) encompass:
* Gaming and gender (studying how female game players engage in video games, as well as studying women in games as characters)
* Localization practices that ignore, distort or erase cultural elements (box art, marketing materials, in-game text or graphic elements, etc.)
* The dynamics of death and violence in gaming (not in the overzealous media sense, but in how the concept is implemented in games and how it is presented to the player, alongside examining how different cultures represent these ideas)
* The history of the medium and how things are changing globally (in particular how certain regions are evolving)
* Utilizing games as a cultural artifact in itself, and what we can learn about culture from them.
I will likely continue to discover new areas that intrigue me as well!
Favorite Games: Here’s a link to the Top 111 hub.
Favorite Game Characters – I’m going to be writing features on my favorite characters in time, but for now I’ll put up a small list of the characters I really like:
Jade (Beyond Good & Evil)
Vyse (Skies of Arcadia)
Samus Aran (Metroid)
Proto Man (Mega Man)
Lyn (Fire Emblem)
Kyle Hyde (Hotel Dusk: Room 215)
Heather Mason (Silent Hill 3)
Nolan Stross (Dead Space 2)
Chie Satonaka (Persona 4)
Yangus (Dragon Quest VIII)
Midna (Legend of Zelda)
Soma Cruz (Castlevania)
Mary Read (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag)
Vega (Street Fighter)
Lucina (Fire Emblem: Awakening/Smash Bros.)
Rock Howard (Garou: Mark of the Wolves)
Franziska von Karma (Ace Attorney)
Iori Yagami (King of Fighters)
Strider Hiryu (Strider/Marvel Vs. Capcom)
Favorite Genre – I’ve got a pretty diverse set of tastes when it comes to games. I primarily like RPGs (of Western and Japanese origin), platformers, third-person action games, and 2D fighters the most. I am not too thrilled by the majority of racing, puzzle, and first-person shooter titles out there, but there are a few exceptions.
Favorite Soundtracks – My top 25 are listed here.
Favorite Songs from Games – I’ve put up a monster list here.
Favorite Composers – If I had to select only ten composers, I’d have to say…Koji Kondo (Super Mario/Legend of Zelda), Kinuyo Yamashita (Castlevania/Power Blade), Naoki Kodaka (Blaster Master/Batman [NES]), Christophe Héral (Beyond Good & Evil/Rayman Origins and Legends), Michiru Yamane (Castlevania), Stephen Rippy (Age of Mythology/Age of Empires), Shoji Mejiro (Persona), Michiko Narube (Wild ARMs, Super Smash Bros.), Nobuo Uematsu (The Last Story/Final Fantasy), Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill)
Favorite Game Artists – Kimihiko Fujisaka, Ayami Kojima, Yasushi Suzuki, Shigenori Soejima, Akira Toriyama, Tatsuya Yoshikawa, Kinu Nishimura, Shinriko, CRMK, Itsuki Hoshi
Favorite Game Franchises – I made a feature!
My Video Games, VG Books and VG Toy Collection
Classics – Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison), Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), Watership Down (Richard Adams), the essays of Mark Twain, The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The Revolt of the Angels and Penguin Island (Anatole France), Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky), We (Yevgeny Zamyatin), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), Mary Barton (Elizabeth Gaskell), Hard Times (Charles Dickens), Flatland (Edwin Abbott)
Modern Fiction – The Flavia de Luce mystery series (Alan Bradley), His Dark Materials series (Philip Pullman), Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale (John Scalzi), White Noise (Don DeLillo), Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (Keiichi Sigsawa), Stardust and The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)
Non-Fiction – Lies My Teacher Told Me/Lies Across America/Teaching What Really Happened/Sundown Towns (James W. Loewen), Twain’s Feast (Andrew Beahrs), The Mother Tongue/At Home/Made in America (Bill Bryson), Bonk/Packing to Mars/Stiff/Gulp (Mary Roach), Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat (various), Society of the Spectacle (Guy Debord), I Am Error (Nathan Altice), Legends of Localization (Clyde Mandelin), Good Nintentions/NES Works (Jeremy Parish)
Drama – Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand), Macbeth/Hamlet/Othello/Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare), Lysistrata (Aristophanes), Man and Superman (George Bernard Shaw)
Poetry – Leaves of Grass (Walt Whitman), Spoon River Anthology (Edgar Lee Masters), the poetry of Robert Frost, the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, the sonnets and lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Oscar Wilde), Beowulf, the poetry of Ruth Wills
Manga/Graphic Novels – Qwan (Aki Shimizu), Battle Angel Alita (Yukito Koshiro), Apocalypse Meow (aka Cat-Shit One, Motofumi Kobayashi), Nausicaä Of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki), Thieves and Kings (Mark Oakley), Saga (Brian K. Vaughn/Fiona Staples), Lynd Ward’s six graphic novels
Favorite Authors – Ralph Ellison, William Shakespeare, Anatole France, James W. Loewen, Bill Bryson, Mary Roach
Favorite Movies – Pretty much 90% of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Juno, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hamlet (Branagh’s), The Dark Knight, This is Spinal Tap, Macbeth (Welles), Robin Hood (Disney), The Muppet Movie, Song of the Sea, Zootopia, Star Wars (original trilogy and Force Awakens/Last Jedi), Wonder Woman, Logan, Alita: Battle Angel, Aliens
Favorite TV Shows – Whose Line is it Anyway? (the US seasons), Mythbusters, Cosmos (Sagan), Full Frontal, Last Week Tonight, Late Night with Seth Meyers
Favorite Online Content – Game Grumps (well, when they don’t try too hard to be edgy anyway ;P ), Monster Factory (Polygon), GG Gab, Same Name Different Game, Fresh Plays, Kim Justice, Retronauts/Jeremy Parish, John Wolfe, Chrontendo, KatFTWynn, KitaNash, Geek Remix, Scf3, Waypoint, BelleAim, GameXplain, The Sphere Hunter
Favorite Anime – Princess Mononoke, Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Summer Wars, Trigun, Spirited Away, Your Name, My Neighbor Totoro
Favorite Artists – Fritz Eichenberg, Agnes Miller Parker, Frank C. Pape, Lynd Ward, Pierre Brissaud, Arthur Szyk, Zhenya Gay, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Sylvain Sauvage
25 Favorite Songs (one per artist or band, in no real order):
- In Repair (live), Our Lady Peace
- Like a Love Song (Back to Back), The Pillows
- February Stars, Foo Fighters
- Speak to Me Bones, Land of Talk
- The End is Beautiful, Jimmy Eat World
- Braille, Regina Spektor
- Kill v. Maim, Grimes
- Only in Dreams, Weezer
- Lady Bones, Magneta Lane
- Friendly Fires, Silversun Pickups
- Willing to Fight, Ani DiFranco
- The Rainbow Connection, Kermit the Frog
- Duvet [acoustic], Boa
- Radio Silence (Little Round Mirrors ver.), Harvey Danger
- Whispers, Passenger
- Brave New World, Richard Ashcroft
- Electric Twist, A Fine Frenzy (Alison Sudol)
- Downtown, Tegan and Sara
- I Tried (So Hard), The Matches
- Try Honesty, Billy Talent
- Canned Heat, Jamiroquai
- One More Time, Daft Punk
- The Heart of the Sea, Flogging Molly
- Hazing, Throwing Muses
- Hunger, Of Monsters and Men
25 Favorite Albums (in no real order):
- Clumsy, Our Lady Peace
- Spiritual Machines, Our Lady Peace
- Billy Talent II, Billy Talent
- Dead Silence, Billy Talent
- Decomposer, The Matches
- Cloak and Cipher, Land of Talk
- We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, Modest Mouse
- How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + The Machine
- Soviet Kitsch, Regina Spektor
- Swoon, Silversun Pickups
- Better Nature, Silversun Pickups
- Automatic for the People, R.E.M.
- Disciplined Breakdown, Collective Soul
- Weezer (Blue Album), Weezer
- Make Yourself, Incubus
- Gambling with God, Magneta Lane
- White Blood Cells, The White Stripes
- Art Angels, Grimes
- Clarity, Jimmy Eat World
- Understanding, Mirah
- The Colour and the Shape, Foo Fighters
- Little Busters, The Pillows
- Beneath the Skin, Of Monsters and Men
- Speed of Darkness, Flogging Molly
- Living in Clip, Ani DiFranco
Favorite Bands/Performers – Our Lady Peace, The Matches, Magneta Lane, Silversun Pickups, The Pillows, Tegan and Sara, Harvey Danger, Billy Talent, Jimmy Eat World, Flogging Molly, Ani DiFranco, Land of Talk, Of Monsters and Men, Regina Spektor, R.E.M., Foo Fighters, Mirah