Oh, hey! You managed to find Ember and Ether, my little cabin tucked away in the thickly uncultivated part of the internet. This place is old and a bit rundown, but feel free to pull up a rickety chair, have some Turkish coffee, and listen to the soft hum of all the forgotten insects…okay, I’m done with this metaphor now.
This blog is simply an outlet for me to release my thoughts about video games. Writing and gaming are my two biggest and most time-consuming hobbies, so it only made sense for me to combine them. Nothing you’ll find here is professional. This is a very casual blog, and most of the content is purely subjective. I may write an introspective analysis of a game or character, or I may just ramble. I will probably do equal amounts of both.
The header image you’re seeing is from one of my favorite scenes in a gorgeous little game called Kentucky Route Zero, when Junebug and Johnny are performing at the bar in the Lower Depths. You can find my review of the first two acts of the game here, where I talk about how gorgeous it is some more.
About the Girl Behind the Blog
Name’s Alyssa, I’m in my late twenties, and I live and work in east Tennessee. I’m earning a Communications degree, and I’m keeping that as my main focus in life while trying not to get too distracted by my interests, which are ridiculously all over the place. I consider myself a perpetual student, not only because I’ve been in school practically my entire life, but also because I live to gather experiences and information, absorbing everything I can to either apply it to my life or find a place for it in my writing.
As far back as I can remember, video games have existed in my world. I have a brother who’s 12 years my senior, and my earliest gaming experiences involved watching him play a game, all wide eyes and rapt young mind, and then promptly picking it up and playing it all over again on my own. I’ll always associate the first zombie in the first Resident Evil with my earliest days as a gamer. It’s one of the first things that legitimately scared the shit out of me, and come to think of it, probably also has a lot to do with my love of horror. I let my brother finish that one alone and didn’t pick it up again myself until years later, when I had developed a thick outer shell of
I eventually graduated to playing games without watching my brother finish them first. My earliest loves were Donkey Kong Country 2, Yoshi’s Island, Final Fantasy VI, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Sonic the Hedgehog, Commander Keen, and King’s Quest. The first console I got that was MINE, ALL MINE, was the original PlayStation, and I’ve remained a Sony devotee, although I occasionally cheat on it with Nintendo. I was also lucky to have a computer technician for a dad who built rigs for each of his three kids. Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights featured heavily in my childhood as a result, along with the heyday of LucasArts.
I’m more of a casual gamer than I once was, since being an adult has sucked all the life and free time out of me. I played World of Warcraft for six years, mostly as a PvP junkie, before deciding to take an indefinite break. Other online multiplayer games I’ve played extensively include Guild Wars 1 & 2, Star Wars Galaxies (pre-NGE Jedi nerf fiasco), Lord of the Rings Online, and Team Fortress 2. Those have all been relegated to retirement status, but I’ve recently gotten into Hearthstone, a.k.a. the new love of my life, and I’m anticipating Overwatch.
Recent single-player favorites include Alan Wake, Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Age: Origins and Inquisition, the Mass Effect trilogy, the Assassin’s Creed series, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bloodborne, Portal and Portal 2, Borderlands and Borderlands 2, Torchlight II, Bastion, Kentucky Route Zero, The Binding of Isaac, Sid Meier’s Civilization V, FTL: Faster Than Light, Shadowrun Returns, Undertale, and pretty much everything Telltale, Double Fine, and Wadjet Eye are doing.
When not playing video games or writing about them, you can usually find me hanging out with dogs, working on my novel, reading several books at a time, running long distances and forested trails, or catching up on my favorite TV shows.
What’s with the Name?
Ember and ether are substances found in two of my favorite video games. One is fictional and the other is only sort of fictional. I thought they made a nice-sounding title when grouped together.
Ember is a mineral found in Torchlight and Torchlight II that provides objects, people, and creatures with magical power. It plays a large role in the games, infusing everything from machinery to armor to spells with power.
An ether is a potion in the Final Fantasy series that restores a character’s MP. In the real world, “aether” is a term used in medieval science as a proposed “fifth element” comprising the region above Earth’s atmosphere. It’s mostly obsolete in modern science, but the term “ether” is still used in chemistry to describe certain compounds. Ether’s true history is as cool to me as its status in the gaming world.