Haven Editorial: Autism in Gaming

I know Autism awareness month has passed, but there is something I’ve wanted to say to our follows, our readers, our viewers, and anyone who happens to stumble across this lovely little place I own and manage.

I am Autistic, a lot of people don’t understand what it means and for the most part I am still learning about the quarks I have with it. It makes me obsessive over things, in this case gaming, I love gaming! Card games, board games, even digital games. I also obsess over schedules and plans it’s why I get annoyed a lot by my team.

But what I hate, and not just a simple loathe but a real hate, is how we are viewed by society. A lot of people consider us broken, that we aren’t special, or don’t fit in. Now don’t misunderstand me with this, there are people out there worse off than me.

I’m known as a high functioning autistic person. This means that I have a lot of the social issues an autistic person has, but I can still function as a human being for the most part. I generally don’t do things that make me uncomfortable and I like to follow a strict regime for pretty much everything I do. As I mentioned earlier I obsess about games.

People worry and say that games and Autism are bad, I don’t think so. I like games because of the structure it provides in a very unstructured world. Like the person in the Kotaku article said.

For some, games offer structure, for others escape. Still others find themselves inspired to dive to depths in games that would go unexplored by others.

I personally prefer Role-playing games because I can understand how the flow of conversations will go.  A lot of the time I misunderstand sarcasm because I have issues with not understanding certain social ques.

I am able to live my life though as a somewhat normal person, thanks to me identifying my issues and having a way to cope. But it’s no cake walk, because I live in a world where I am treated differently by a lot of people simply because of how my brain is. That bothers me, the worst part is I am clever and I understand this and why they are doing what they do.

Even now working at my job, people are keen to treat me a bit nicer simply because of it. I am only getting healthcare in the United States because of it. People have the audacity to judge people with Autism also because of their obsessions, putting us down, treating us differently, and it bothers me.

Hell, we got an entire month dedicated to helping people become more aware of Autism but all it does is reinforce the labeling we have been given by society. I never asked for it, I never wanted it. I just wanted to live my life as a average person and until I had to return to the United States I was doing just that.

Yes, Autism is a mental illness and there are people less fortunate than I am with it, severe cases that need constant help and support. But at the same time, this is not something I wanted. I didn’t want to be born this way; I didn’t want the labeling that came along with it. I’ve been fortunate to avoid most of the worse parts of the issues that come along with it, the bullying for example.  I got lucky because I was home-schooled after a while.

I guess what I am trying to say here, and avoiding the point is. I game because it’s my way of coping; it’s my way of understanding and helping people understand. Gamers-Haven is a place I created so people from all walks of life, religion, and genders. So that they can be welcomed with open arms including people who are Autistic like myself. I know not everyone out there is bad; I genuinely know and understand that my views are a tad bit bias because of my experiences and understanding towards the situations at hand. But others like me, none of us wanted what life dealt us. It’s why I avoid a lot of social situations, it’s why I game, It’s why I genuinely keep people out of my life. Because society has made Autism a defining factor for people who cannot show the world what they are capable of because that label is all they see.

The only reason I even write this, is so everyone can see. I may be an Autistic person, but I am also a person who has created a marvelous little website among the few friends I have to achieve something we all strive and yearn for.

A world where everyone can be accepted for who they are and not viewed with labels society places upon us.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Shiness The Lightning Kingdom

Shiness the Lightning Kingdom, I have honestly been looking forward to this game for a incredibly long time, from the moment I saw it on kickstarter I have been following the game obsessively waiting as patiently as I can to get my hands on a copy of it and honestly, moment of truth?

It was so worth it, there are a few minor bugs here and there like getting stuck when you jump up and you land on a area connecting two zones. But outside of that one really annoying bug, and some crashing the game is surprisingly good.

Now, the biggest thing I’ve noticed with the game is its combat system. It is a very unique combat system, unlike traditional RPG’s where you have the lineup of characters fighting by your side this one takes a cue from Street Fighter where one character fights one enemy, however you can trade out during the fight for another character to best match your enemies this ability is also granted to the enemies as well that you fight.

The biggest difference is that the battles are handled in a arena concept. When encountering a bunch of enemies, it makes a dome around the fighting arena and you are forced to battle one on one with all the enemies until there is a victor, subsequently everyone gets EXP from the battle and they don’t need to participate in the battle to get EXP.

However if you plan on learning new skills, or moves you must use them in battle or else that character will never learn them. So it’s a double edged sword, you can have one good character or if you want a team of good characters you need to individually train them all.

Another fun factor of the game is its stage mechanics, where each character has a special skill to help them solve various problems that occur in the stages you play in. Chado can throw rocks or place them, Poky can connect electrical current with his wrench, and the other guy has psychic powers. I forgot his name, but he looks cool!

The story thus far is to primarily get to a place called the Land of Life which for the most part is the grueling aspect of the game. Although having only played the game for several hours at this point, I have been really enjoying the combat and the interactions with the other characters in a comic book mischief type of setting.

Action scenes are done with comic panels and audio dialog instead of a more interactive experience to give the game more of a fun and mischievous kinda feel and honestly? It works really well for the game.

I really enjoy the characters, the story so far, and the soundtrack to the game which helps add a bit more life to the game. I also absolutely enjoy just how colorful and vibrant the game is and its something I openly look for in games because I love to see actual color in games. Not some monochrome gray scaled game that says it’s fun, but a game that openly embraces color, antics, and understands that not everything has to be dark and gritty to be a game.

The interactions with the other characters, the jokes, the chance to jokingly insult a villain, these are aspects which help breathe life into this game and are the main aspects I really love about this title. I feel at times there is just not enough games out there that have these aspects. It’s not always about assassinating someone, it’s not always suppose to be grim. Sometimes we need a bright, cheerful, and fun loving game to break up the grimness of reality not only because it helps immerse us in a fantasy world, but also because it helps bring a freedom and joy that we cannot experience in the real world.

Shiness the Lightning Kingdom is one of those games that help share that fantasy to our reality and helps bring us back to the roots of gaming with its colorful and cheerful atmosphere and array of interesting characters.

-Daniel Clatworthy

 

Haven Review: Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

Been a while since we had a review from me! So let’s jump into this, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the third installment of the Ghost Warrior franchise and let’s face it, that was pretty obvious, wasn’t it?

Anyways, moving on! This is actually the first time I have played one of the Sniper games and I was always worried it wouldn’t accurately portray how snipers generally are. When you got to factor in wind resistance, timing, breathing, and all the other factors a real sniper would deal with.

But I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate it actually was. Heck, for a war style game or “action shooter” as so many people kindly put it. I was even more impressed at how many bullets it took to kill me! Not many… Which is very accurate for actual combat? This reinforced the fact that they are going for a very accurate game in terms of game-play mechanics.

My biggest issue so far though with the game-play is simply its story overall and also the fact that almost everyone in the area you are playing in has a gun, although I may exaggerate and say the mother has a gun, the husband has the gun! Little Timmy has a gun!

It’s because in the vast area’s you are in, you don’t know right away who or who isn’t your enemy you generally got to scout out with your drone to find this out. Because if you fail to scout you are pretty much going to run casually into a bunch of guys with guns who will blow your pretty little head off.

Although in terms of accuracy, I guess you could say it is painfully accurate because we never know who our enemies are in times of conflict. Happens a lot in Drone strikes, as well as various other conflicts in towns and villages which is a big thing both in the Middle East and other areas of the world.

Now, in terms of game-play I seriously cannot understand who to switch to my side arm, I only can switch between my Sniper Rifle or my Assault weapon which truth be told is kinda annoying because I really want to Solid Snake my way through compounds to take our enemies and I can’t.

Musical composition is fairly nice and it’s pretty accurate for the region you are playing in as well. Not to mention that the vehicles actually look accurate to the scenery also adding a nice level of immersion to the game that most titles generally don’t got for.

But my biggest issue with the game as a whole is the story at the beginning, where your brother is kidnapped. The whole game revolves around you looking for your brother, but at the same time you are being shot down by the person in charge. Not only is this highly improbable that the military would put two brothers together in a secret covert ops mission, but the fact that they would also let the brother openly search for his kidnapped brother knowing full well it could be a conflict of interest is my biggest issue with the game.

Outside of that, the game is wonderfully accurate, highly enjoyable, and a great time kill as well as NPC kill. I highly recommend it, if you love blowing peoples skulls wide open with a sniper rifle.

Military Update: My brother in law who served in the Armed forces wishes to state that unless you are sitting in your own shit and piss for eighteen hours a day, there is no way they can accurately portray that.

-Daniel Clatworthy

A safe haven for anyone and everyone.