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Gameplay Magazine

Talk about regional management and politics, raider/defender gameplay, and other game-related matters.
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Escade
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Gameplay Magazine

Postby Escade » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:06 pm

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Forum | Discord | Dispatch


Introducing a monthly NationStates gameplay magazine focused on social stories told through the lens of GP culture, celebrity, and style.


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Last edited by Escade on Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Escade
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Gameplay Magazine - Index of Issues

Postby Escade » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:06 pm

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Forum | Discord | Dispatch


Introducing a NationStates gameplay magazine focused on social stories told through the lens of GP culture, celebrity, and style.

~


Index


Issue 1
January 10, 2019

In this first issue of the magazine, we sit down with two NationStates personalities working on UCR projects. Cormactopia Prime, is the current delegate of Pacifica and is up for a WA commendation. Then, The Grim Reaper is the founder of Greater Azhukali, a roleplay themed region. Both UCRs are looking for new players so check them out!

Next we looked at art and culture, first by examining the Synthwave avatar\pfp trend on NS Discords started by NationStates moderator and Roleplay mentor, Kyrusia. Then we looked at the redesign and rebranding of The East Pacific focusing on the lotus and its symbolism and history.

Contents

Arts and Culture: Let the Synthwave Take Over
Forum | Dispatch

Featured Personality: Cormac
Forum | Dispatch

Arts and Culture: A Lotus Blooms
Forum | Dispatch

Featured Personality: The Grim Reaper
Forum | Dispatch

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Issue 2
February 3, 2019

In this second issue of the magazine, we sit down with four NationStates personalities. First we interview the vivacious delegate of Lazarus and eminent artist Imkitopia. Then we met up with Jamie, one of the notable players who has made a return to NationStates after a hiatus. Next, we sat down with NS Moderator and Senior Roleplay mentor, and WA delegate of Greater Dienstad Lamoni. Finally we had an in-depth interview with the recently WA commended, former delegate and writer of an amazing bookXoriet.

For this month's art and culture study we examine tattoos in honor of Imkitopia and [nation]Rigel's Light[/nation] along with several other NSers who have tattoos or are in the process of getting them.

Then we introduced a new section Happenings which highlights GP community events and projects. Finally, we looked at what several NSers are reading - which is Webtoons!

Contents

Featured Personality: Imki
Forum |Dispatch

Arts and Culture: Inkredible Tattoos
Forum Dispatch

Featured Personality: Jamie
ForumDispatch

Arts and Culture: What We're Reading
Forum | Dispatch

Featured Personality: Lamoni
Forum| Dispatch

Happenings: Highlights from the Gameplay World
Forum |Dispatch

Featured Personality: Xoriet
Forum |Dispatch

Special thanks to all my interviewees for being patient with me (and helping with edits) and to Rigels Light!
Last edited by Escade on Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:45 am, edited 12 times in total.

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Postby Escade » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:07 pm

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Arts and Culture: Let the Synthwave Take Over

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Kyrusia's synthwave Discord avatar


Discord users of NationStates may have noticed the sweeping nature of the Synthwave avatar trend. Players are sporting this particular avatar inspired by Nation States Senior moderator, Roleplay mentor, and talented writer and artist - Kyrusia.

Kyrusia began the trend by making his own Discord avatar, seen above, using the synthwave sun symbol. He was inspired by, “the album art from FM-84's album "Atlas." Kyrusia uses Inkscape, a free vector graphics program.

After creating his avatar, Kyrusia received requests from fellow players in the Roleplay server with the very first being Vocenae. The trend moved from Roleplay to Gameplay with the number of users asking for or emulating the Cult of Synthwave Overgoat spiralling. New players are requesting synthwave avatars each day as the trend sweeps NS Discord servers.

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Vocenae's Synthwave avatar features an eagle. And so the synthwave spread...


What is Synthwave?

Synthwave is modern music and art produced in the early 2000s. It is informed by an aesthetic inspired by reenvisioning movies, music, videogames of the 80s. Think neon, reverb, distorted electronic sounds, nostalgia for visions of the future as presented in the 80s, and heavily inspired by the European dance, electronic, and house music.

Movies like the Back to the Future series, Blade Runner, the Terminator series, and Tron imagine a future, our future, through a mixture of upbeat vibes, fear, dystopian grimness but also glimmers of hope and that 80s kitsch.

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I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. ~ Blade Runner (1982)


Synthwave, developing since the early 2000s, reached popular culture through Kavinsky’s 2010 soundtrack for the movie Drive. The song Nightcall and Kavinsky’s work brought many new fans to the aesthetic. Other popular works that explore or dabble with this aesthetic include the soundtrack of Stranger Things which is straight up synth; Thor: Ragnarok which dabbles in synthwave and retrofutiristic vibes; and Ready Player One which is a homage to 80s pop culture.

Ready for a deep dive into the Synthwave genre? Check out this awesome Stranger Synths Mixtape!

Check out some beautiful synthwave Discord avatars below and get your own!

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Mghnb's synthwave Discord avatar captures an imposing Wild West feel. Anything can happen....

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Roselladrelos' synthwave Discord avatar features a beautiful gradient.

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Altmoras's synthwave Discord avatar captures the lightning bolt striking with speed.

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Escade ;) My favorite (of course).


Let the synthwave take over....
Last edited by Escade on Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Featured Personality: Cormac

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Our guest today is renowned in NationStates GamePlay for a myriad of reasons. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the estimable presence that Cormactopia Prime has had on NSGP over the years. He can start an avalanche when it comes to drama and force players and regions to take actions with the sheer power of personality. Cormac is the delegate of the region Pacifica which according to their WFE

Republican Pacifica is eternally at war with the New Pacific Order. We are an anti-fascist region, read all about it here.

Pacifica was launched by a native forced from his home in St Abbaddon by the New Pacific Order. We seek to continue the free spirit of St Abbaddon."

This interview took place on December 15, 2018 over Discord.

How did you learn about NationStates? How long have you been playing NS?

Well, as far as I can remember I learned about NationStates when I was bored one day and googled something like "political game" or "political simulation," something like that. So no great origin story. My story began in boredom! :P

I've been playing NS for almost seven years now. I started in February 2012.

Do you remember where you started out?
I think I spawned in the West Pacific, but I'm no longer 100% sure. My first region that I moved to was actually 10000 Islands, but I was there for only a short time before falling inactive. A couple weeks later I started again with a new nation and ended up in an imperialist region called Exshaw, founded by Durkadurkiranistan (aka John Ashcroft Land, or JAL). So that was the first region I was really involved in.

Was your first nation named Cormac or a variation of it?

Actually no, the origin of the name Cormac was my first nation in Exshaw, which was called United Celts. I started out interested in the General Assembly, and I didn't immediately realize that gameplay wasn't as RP-oriented as the GA was. So when I signed up for Exshaw I used the name of my nation's RP "foreign minister," which was Cormac. The name just kind of stuck after that.

Is there any other significance or symbolism behind your nation name and\or flag? I know you chose your family name based on symbolic\mythic connections.

Nope, not really any symbolism behind my flag, it was just a nice design I came across and thought it was unique. The compass in it though does seem very "me," because I tend to follow my own compass wherever it goes.

I chose my family name because it was a title of Odin, which meant "ruler of treachery." Given the first UCR I founded was Asgard and I've always been into Norse mythology, and given it was a tongue-in-cheek way to embrace my reputation, I thought it was a weirdly appropriate family name.

How did you get involved in gameplay?

Well, after Exshaw kind of went south, I founded my own UCR, Asgard. That only lasted for a few months, unfortunately, though it was fun and we made a pretty decent impact with our raid of Christmas (which is still commemorated by the Liberate Christmas resolution). After Asgard I ended up involved in TNP, Osiris, and the UDL, and ended up prioritizing Osiris and the UDL over TNP.

So Osiris and the UDL were pretty much the same time as each other, and there was always a little bit of tension between my involvement in one and my involvement in the other. As most know, the UDL tended to be controversial, to say the least.

Can you tell us a little bit about your time in the UDL?

Well, I joined the UDL in September 2012. By then it had developed a bit of a reputation for not handling conflicts of interest well, based primarily on Unibot's political involvement in TSP and to a lesser extent TNP. Though it wasn't entirely Unibot, there were others who didn't handle their conflicts of interest well either, or at least were perceived that way. But really that didn't explode until 2013 when Ravania was caught spying on the NPA in TNP, which basically was the beginning of the end for the UDL. But it was always a bit controversial, and became a bit moreso when I joined it, due to me having abruptly switched alignments from imperialist to defender.

The first of what would end up being many alignment switches, actually. I don't know how many times I've switched alignments over the years. But quite a few.

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It's interesting because switching alignments\sides is something that you are criticized for or teased about sometimes on GP. From one perspective it allows you to experience different parts of GP and also really treat the game IC. What do you attribute your switching to?

The way I've played this game was really peculiar at the time, though it's become less so. If I get bored with what I'm doing, I go do something different - because this is a game and I'm not going to limit myself to something that isn't working for me. So that was often at the root of my decisions to go do something else, though there were times there was drama involved, or political reasons. So I guess I would have to say each situation was a little different.

Would it be accurate to say that Osiris has been one of your most consistent focuses in NS? How did you start there and what was it like then?

I started in Osiris in 2012, about the same time as I joined the UDL, but I think a little earlier. It's definitely been my most consistent focus. I started there because I wanted to get more involved in GCRs after Asgard lost the Security Council vote on Liberate Christmas, but as I got to know people there more, it became home to me. It's hard to describe what Osiris was like then. It was simultaneously Osiris' early "golden age," and one of the strongest and most active communities Osiris has ever had, but also incredibly toxic, especially behind the scenes. The toxicity only became apparent to me later, or I likely wouldn't have gotten involved there. I'm still glad I did though.

The way I would describe it I guess is an apple that looks really delicious on the outside, but once you really sink your teeth into it, you see that it's rotten at the core. That was Osiris in 2012.

I know you've been pharoah in Osiris at least once? Where else have you held major positions?

I've been Pharaoh there three times actually - once in 2013 while it was still the Kemetic Republic, again in 2014 when it was OFO 1.0, and then again in 2016 as the Pharaoh overseeing the turbulent transition from OFO 1.0 to 2.0.

I haven't held a lot of really major positions elsewhere, really, other than Founder of Asgard - more supporting positions. In addition to other, lesser roles in Osiris, I've been a Senator in Europeia, Cabinet Secretary in TNI, Foreign Secretary in The LKE, Lieutenant in the UDL, Chair of the Assembly in TSP, Assembly Speaker in Lazarus. I commanded Balder's military for a while. I was a General in The Brotherhood of Malice, and a Corporal in The Black Hawks. That's not even everything, just what I remember off the top of my head. In the words of Johnny Cash, "I've been everywhere man." :P

Most of my more significant roles were legislative. I didn't do much of significance anywhere else besides legislation.

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I think Johnny Cash is pretty much Osiris' official mascot 8)


What is your favorite historical NS event or moment? Why?

My favorite was definitely the establishment of OFO 1.0 in December 2013. Aside from putting Osiris on the long path to stability, it was also just the coolest thing I've ever done in this game, and it was something I got to share with Koth and Venico, who were my best friends in this game (Koth still is, Venico is of course retired). It's not too often that a major "coup" has long-term success, usually they falter after a few months at the most. So I think that was really pivotal for me as a player, for Osiris as a region, and really for gameplay.

A close runner-up would be seeing TSP liberated from Milograd's coup earlier in 2013. That was actually the only GCR coup I've ever seen liberated by force. The others either weren't liberated, were negotiated away, or were ended from the inside (like Kazmr and Imki in Lazarus). So it was cool to have witnessed an actual GCR liberation.

I didn't know that about Milograd's coup actually and that coup is the reason I started really playing this game.

Yeah, it's a really underrated moment in NS history. It was a major thing that doesn't get talked about much. That coup was also what got Ever-Wandering Souls involved in gameplay, along with many others.

We've both I think discussed this waning of NSGP, where it has lost some of its power and spark. It's also possible we're looking at things with rose-colored glasses. If you had to compare NS then and now - what do you think its lost over the years? What do you want to see more of now?

I think what NS has lost is its political dimension. It's too social now. To be clear, it has always been social, and that's not only inevitable but also a good thing. It's what makes us a community as well as a game. But that has always been held in balance with political gameplay. The balance has shifted too much toward socializing now. We need more ideology, more conflict that is political but doesn't become so interpersonally toxic. More stuff like the ADN and NPO war.

But it should be noted that you're right, some of it is rose-colored glasses. There was a lot of interpersonal conflict in the example I just used, the ADN and NPO war. At one point the NPO used Pope Hope's RL picture in their propaganda and she threatened to sue them. So sometimes older players have a tendency to remember things as being better than they were.

Ultimately, I think the game really needs some technical change to breathe new life into gameplay. Faction Gameplay or something. But until then, because that may never happen, as players we should do everything we can to work with what we have.

I mean in part I also think there aren't enough sides that are actually competitive. Imperialism or independen dominated and folded everyone into itself minus a few here and there. Defenders seem to always be on the losing end of the stick. Now no one, not even the NPO, wants to be in a war it seems like.

Yeah, that's definitely part of it. I don't think capital-I Independence has been good for the game, because too many regions have become too similar. Almost everyone is some variant of Independent now, and it's not producing more interesting conflicts as we were told it would. Independence sold itself as being a more political way of playing the game, based on each region's interests rather than big ideologies like Francoism, defenderism, etc. But that hasn't been the result. Instead, Independence has yielded an almost apolitical or "post-political" environment where everyone thinks mostly the same way.

We need more ideological diversity. We need traditional defending to make a comeback, and we also need more ideological gameplay in general. But the players have to be willing to jettison Independence and actually do that. I'm not sure the will for that exists right now.

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Some players attribute the influence of Discord as having weakened the game. Which NS platform do you use the most (Discord, Gameside RMB, Forums)? What do you think of these platforms and their strengths and weaknesses for gameplay?

I definitely use Discord the most. I kind of hate myself for doing that, because I think it has contributed to the over-socialization I mentioned. But it also has a lot of strengths in terms of quick communication, and it's where everyone in gameplay is at right now so it's hard to deliberately avoid using it and still participate. I think quick communication is also one of its weaknesses. Arguments are much more likely to get heated and turn intensely personal when they're happening in real time. I think the rise in harassment we've seen has a lot to do with the emphasis on real time communication as well. So there are real drawbacks, and I'd like to see people using forums more.

I do also think most regions don't use their RMBs enough. I've been guilty of this too. The RMB is obviously not organized to be useful enough for a lot of gameplay purposes, but it's still a tool that should be used to enhance the region and get gameside players more involved. We could use a lot more of that in gameplay in general.

For a while players have argued that forums are dead. What do you think about this view?

They're definitely not being used nearly as much. I don't think they'll ever be completely dead though - they're still needed to do things that Discord simply isn't good for, like organizing legislatures, or forum-based things that require more text. Discord isn't a good platform for that. I've also seen this or that medium of communication pronounced "dead" before, only to see it make a comeback later. The fixation on Discord could well end up passing eventually like IRC and Skype did, and we could see forums being used more often again.

So, if you were Max Barry for a day what would you do?

I would create at least five new Feeders and ban fascism. I would want to personally delete fascist regions and nations, because that would be very satisfying. :P

If I were Max Barry for longer than a day, I would see to it that Faction Gameplay is implemented.

Honestly though, what am I saying? Max is an accomplished author, which means he probably has money. I would probably throw a big boozy party and not think about this game at all...

A Cormac party, I wonder what that would look like. I think more GCRs would definitely inject some new life into the game if they didn't devolve into the same old same old.

What do you do for fun outside of NS?

What is this "outside of NS" you speak of?

Nah, but in all seriousness, I'm a huge fan of horror movies and I watch a lot of TV, specifically fantasy/sci-fi/apocalyptic stuff like The Walking Dead, The 100, etc. I also like to read, basically the same genres as my movie and TV preferences. I enjoy outdoor stuff like hiking and fishing.

Oh, also BuzzFeed quizzes. I take a lot of those. Like, an unhealthy amount.

LOL. Yes, the BuzzFeed quizzes - they are an addiction :P

Favorite movie?

My favorite movie is A Nightmare on Elm Street (the original, not the crappy 2010 remake). It's the movie that got me into horror movies. Anyone who hasn't seen it really should.

Favorite music?

Country is my favorite genre, but I have really eclectic tastes and like a little bit from a lot of genres. I also listen to Christmas music daily starting the day after Thanksgiving until the day after New Year's, so I'm one of those people.

What is some of your favorite Christmas music?

A little bit of everything really, but I tend to like the classic stuff more. Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, etc. Michael Buble is one of my favorites too though! I like his non-holiday stuff as well.

So you wake up Christmas morning and a receive a golden ticket that gives you the delegacy of any region you choose. Which would you choose? And what would you do?

How different the answer to this question would have been had you asked it a few weeks ago. :P

I would choose the Pacific, and I would immediately dissolve the NPO and convene a constitutional convention to set up the most democratic government possible. I think that would both be the most interesting outcome, as well as annoying the NPO, so the best of both worlds.

What are you focusing on right now?

I'm currently the Delegate of Pacifica (the UCR).

Basically, I see it as a good opportunity to help out Topid, who is a longtime friend of mine now, and help a region that is already at war with the NPO - so it helps the war effort as well. It's also a bit of putting my money where my mouth is. I've been saying for a while that UCRs need to become more relevant again, but I hadn't been doing anything about it. So that's what I hope to do here. I'm hoping we'll be having a constitutional discussion soon and working on getting region-building really underway. I still need to coordinate all of this with Topid, but I think the region has a lot of potential and I'm excited about it.


Thank you to Cormactopia Prime for this interview and check out Pacifica! Check out the WA commendation proposed for Cormac by Tim-Opolis here. FInally, check out the AMA here for more about Cormac!
Last edited by Escade on Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Escade » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:08 pm

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Arts and Culture: A Lotus Blooms
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The East Pacific recently redesigned its flag and symbol transitioning to a white lotus symbol against verdant green. The lotus flower symbolizes rebirth, spiritual enlightenment, and has been a central symbol across the world and a part of major ancient cultures and religions.

Of the design changes, the main contributors to the re-theming were TEPers Libertanny, Pakitsk, Fedele, Elfine, Aeneas, and Marrabuk. On the design overhaul they had to say that it represented both a return to tradition in TEP, in keeping the verdant green, as well as the lotus symbolizing the harmony, calmness and growth that the region wants to focus on in this period of time.


The Science of the Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

The lotus, sometimes mistaken with a water lily, has a unique life cycle. It’s roots are based in the mud and the plant submerges each night into muddy water. Miraculously, it re-blooms each morning without any stain on its petals. The Chinese Confucian scholar, Zhou Dunyi, said, “I love the lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained.”

The plant is also extremely hardy even though it looks dainty. Lotus seeds, aged approximately 1,300 years, were found in an a dried out lakebed in northeastern China. In 1994, the seeds were successfully germinated and bloomed. Scientists have also found that the lotus can self-regulate the temperature of its flowers to within a range similar to those of warm blooded animals and humans.

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The lotus exists in five natural colors: white, pink, blue, red and purple. The white lotus, chosen for the TEP redesign, is revered for its purity and referred to as the “womb of the world.”


Ancient Egypt and the Lotus

The Egyptians depicted one of their significant gods, Horus, sitting on a lotus flower with his mother. Known as the god of the sky he was said to contain the sun and the moon. Egyptian primeval goddess Hathor’s major sacred symbol was the blue lotus and was dedicated to her son the god of perfume and beauty.

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King Tut and his wife depicted with lotus


The lotus symbol is found in honored places from ancient Egyptian tombs, to architecture, and royal headdresses. Egyptian women wore amulets emblazoned with the lotus during childbirth for its associations with the sun, creation, rebirth and fertility. The Egyptian hieroglyphic for the significant cardinal number, 1000, was a lotus. While the white lotus and the blue lotus were both native to Egypt and cultivated extensively, the blue lotus was preferred for its exquisite scent and associated with the sacred.

Asian Cultures and the Lotus

The lotus is a sacred and polyvalent symbol in Buddhist and Hindu religions and in the countries of China, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Many deities are depicted sitting on a lotus as it embodies divinity and perfection. Gautam Buddha, a monk whose teachings became the foundations of Buddhism, was believed to have lotus flowers bloom where he walked. Indeed the lotus forms the teachings of the Eightfold Path in Buddhism to spiritual enlightenment.

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A Tibetan depiction of Buddha seated on a pink lotus. In Buddhism, the pink lotus is considered the supreme lotus while the blue represents wisdom and the white purity.


The lotus symbolizes the purity of body, speech, and mind and the human soul. The flower is rooted in the mud and each night submerged underwater into the murky, muddy waters. However, the flower emerges, as almost a resurrection, each morning without its petals being defiled by the impurities. It therefore represents the ability of the soul to transcend earthly trappings and to remain whole and pure.

Delegate Fedele, who commissioned the new theme, stated that, “it was prompted by a perceived need for a new beginning” and reiterated how the white lotus represents rebirth and purity resurrecting out of the darkness of the black and the green represents progress to a better future.

With a new theme and several changes internally, we hope to see the East Pacific thrive in harmony and prosperity.

Check out more lotus images on Pinterest here:
Last edited by Escade on Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Escade » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:09 pm

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Featured Personality: The Grim Reaper

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Our guest today is The Grim Reaper, known in roleplay circles as well as gameplay circles - he is a talented writer and roleplayer, a long-time member of The Rejected Realms, member of the RRA, and founder of the exciting new roleplay region Greater Azhukali. One a personal level, I first realized what a funny and detailed writer Grim was when he wrote a satire of NS. Since then we’ve become NS family and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him and also learn about his delightful stories and projects <3

This interview took place on January 6, 2019 over Discord.

How did you learn about NationStates? How long have you been playing NS?

I've been playing on and off since about 2008 - if I recall correctly, I found out about nationstates purely coincidentally. I think I ended up here just by googling political simulators online. At the time flash games were all the rage, so you could generally google some sort of game online and find something interesting. I was super into sim games, and was just starting my interest in politics. And the rest is history.

Was your first nation named The Grim Reaper or a variation of it? And where did you found if you remember?

Oh, I couldn't possibly remember where it was... It was Vortiaganica - I picked up The Grim Reaper from the username release in 2011!

Oh exciting what was the username release of 2011?

2011 was when the boneyard first started - now, usernames get released over time as time passes from the nations having CTE'd. However, in 2011, there was a pretty large wave of initial releases where usernames that 'would' have become eligible to take under the new rules before the invention of the boneyard were made available. The Grim Reaper was one of them.

Is there any other significance or symbolism behind your nation name and\or flag?

At around that period, I was very interested in how mythology depicted various concepts - two of the more consistent depictions in global myth that I'm aware of tend to be Time, and Death, which are to an extent fairly related not just as concepts but as depictions. One of the things that really drew me to The Grim Reaper was a vague interest in developing a personal composition of 'Death', the anthropomorphization, as a warmer, more appealing figure - less grimdark, and so forth - as a 'vanity' account. By vanity account, I mean a sort of persona to play in the game for OOC discussions based on a desirable, real-life-inspired name - something that USS Monitor is well known under all their various aliases in NSG, for instance.

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It was something of a thought experiment; to think through the cachet that mythology has for us in the real world, and what it means to try and envision that differently.

Unfortunately, The Grim Reaper never became a huge mainstay of my RP, so I was never really able to express any of those thoughts in depth.

But it has, of course, become the consistent identity I use throughout the game, so there's one win!

I think having a consistent identity is almost like a brand in NS and part and parcel of the personas players have. That said, how did you get involved in gameplay?

It was Balder and Osiris opening up. It wasn't a particularly in-depth decisions for me; I just thought it was an interesting way to get into a big region on the ground floor, and obviously I was well-aware of the feeder GCRs as almost all nationstaters are. I didn't have a great - or any - conception of how a sinker like Lazarus or TRR would differ from the feeders, but I did know that they were influential, big, and seemed to have no problems growing in comparison to the RP regions or the general chat regions I was familiar with, which had to actively recruit constantly.

It was an interesting experimental ground to want to try and transform, particularly in order to explore one of my biggest bugbears in the game - a total lack of GCR theming. At the time, none of the GCRs had a really consistent theme that I can remember, if you exclude the NPO as a broad theme, but both Osiris and Balder obviously lent themselves to and embraced a pretty deep thematic element almost from Day 1.

Oh when was this approximately? So you were there when Osiris and Balder became GCRs?

I think it was around 2011 as well? I'm not good with times, but yes, I was one of the first people in Osiris. If I remember correctly, I was in Osiris in the first hour it was up, as it came out in the afternoon Melbourne time. I also ended up running in their first delegacy election with Nicholas Sinterklaas, a Christmas-themed puppet of mine, although I didn't do very well.

That's so cool! Makes me wish they would reset\reshuffle or at least finally get some female themed GCRs created.

I think more and more we are seeing some crossover between NS communities but it is still rare to find a player so well immersed in both Gameplay and Roleplay. How did you get involved in the roleplay community?

That, I barely even remember. I know I started off in Forum 7, which at the time was a combination of what we now call Forum 7 as well as Portal to the Multiverse. I participated in the occasional character RP back then, as well as the chat threads - Nana's Bistro being the largest and best known for most of F7's history. Those collectively were how I started to meet people who would eventually move into the main RP world of NS, like Madjack.

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From there, my first involvement in II at large was with Vortiaganica, which was a slaver state. Vortiaganica became a member of a group called IASEN - International Association of Slave-Exporting Nations. It wasn't particularly active for a long time, and neither was I, but some of its members DID participate in the broader RP community. At some point, somewhere, I became interested in the RP community. Azhukali became the first RP region I joined - with very little RP experience to point to, as F7 still purged RP threads after a week, and no links to people who could endorse me, my main options were regions that were 'open', requiring neither invites nor applications.

The other major open RP region from that time that survived was Greater Dienstad, also a great region. Most of Azhukali's people participated in the RP community's big IRC channel at the time - now affectionately nick-named #sanc, founded by former mod and Azhukali member Jenrak. So though I joined late in Azhukali's life, and I never ended up really RPing with them, they DID introduce me to the world of NS' RPers.

You mentioned IRC, do players still use IRC today? Then, which NS platform do you use the most (Discord, Gameside RMB, Forums)? What do you think of these platforms and their strengths and weaknesses for gameplay and\or roleplay?

As far as I know, no-one really uses IRC anymore - many of the #sanc crew either left the game, moved to regional discord servers, or joined what is now the major cross-regional RP discord, which is actually the NationStates Future Tech server. A lot of the more active #sancers felt that Future Tech provided a better basis for RP that was more character-driven, and discouraged people from 'godmodding' or 'techwanking' by requiring that people outright planned and organized the outcomes of their RPs.

Then, I currently use them all for different things - Discord is the best way to have casual chats with people, it allows for so much more transient conversation and topic changes and meeting new people. It is way easier to have a somewhat more personal connection with people on Discord than it is to do it on IRC or the RMB or forums. I still use the RMB and find it really appealing for smaller regions, with people who might be busier or not want to use a Discord channel? I'm in an NSG region where the primary mode of communication is the RMB, and it allows for a slower-paced flow of chatting that is more akin to like a Facebook feed than a Facebook conversation. I really don't think there is a whole lot of space to use either RMBs or Discord for RP - neither of them allow for enough preservation of information to have complex canons or conversations, and it limits you to a single 'thread' unless you're willing to do very complex stuff with Discord. It's just easier to use a forum where you can edit, prepare, plan an RP post, change it based on feedback, and have time to sit down and think rather than participate in a live conversation.

I've used Discord for 'live' RP before, both with NSers and with RL friends once, but it really is a weird experience that made me feel a bit tied down - a complex RP system that introduces a lot of downtime, or where people need to think quite a bit about their posts, makes it a little awkward at times, especially with people who have different typing speeds. Of course, you can also voice chat, but then you're really giving up on long-term RPs altogether if you want to exclusively voice chat.

What is your favorite historical NS event or moment? Why?

The April Fools events are always a favourite of mine, but my absolute favourite was the first Z-Day. I'd been vaguely involved in the "NationStates Community", which was a region that was created for the NS IPO April Fools joke. The IPO april fools joke involved a 'stock issue', where nations were given shares based on their population and were allowed to transfer them between each other. NSC was formed to try and agglomerate enough shares to 'win' the game, by beating the number of shares that Max Barry claimed to have issued himself, on behalf of, well, the NationStates community.

The region went quiet for a year, and then with Z-Day, a lot of people who had been involved in it went back to try and figure out a good way to become involved with Z-Day. Basically, what was settled on was to turn NSC into a sort of quarantine region - where people could come from their home regions and get aggressively cured for zombieism, and then go back to their own regions to help them research a cure (healthier nations could research more effectively). As time went on, we organized 'cure teams', which were made of large nations that could go out to regions and aggressively cure their members as well, and we organized cure teams by population and time of day. That was a real hoot.

What I like most about events is how they bring people together towards a common goal! What are some contemporary projects or events in NS that you are working or interested in?

Well, IRL I've got some other priorities to take care of first, but at the moment my biggest NS priority is trying to get my new region, Greater Azhukali up and running. It's a bit of a slow start, but I have fairly big plans for it - not just as a conventional RP region, but as a hangout place really for people who like the idea of being part of a community that is built around RP rather than GP, just like we have in so many R/D-based GP regions and GCR communities where people who don't necessarily participate in the core activity of the region still feel welcome parts of the community who can both contribute to and get something out of the region.

At the moment, we are in the final stages of finalizing a flag and a map, which will let us start to really soft-launch the region. This map is in development!

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Oh that's really exciting! I like the idea of a region built around RP. Do you have a type of roleplay in mind? Also, will ask you how to pronounce the pretty name Greater Azhukali in Voice Chat :)

So we're primarily looking at more traditional, modern-tech nation RP, but I'm trying to investigate ways to make them easier to interact with for people who may only want to do one-off RPs, or who want ways to engage with the RP world that don't need them to build a whole nation up from scratch. My particular interest has really always been character RP, and even my nation RPs tended to be very based around characters - I didn't like to write the more stereotypical "big military conflict", and all my military RP posts always focused on the feelings and decision-making processes of the individuals involved in them, from the top to the trenches. I'd like to encourage a very strongly character-focused style of nation RP, as I believe that having people be more interested in their characters in their nations allows way more variety in the story-writing process. Hopefully, that can also be used to open opportunities for other people to involve themselves in the nations created by more established RPers, without feeling too constrained and feeling like they can actually write their own stories - long-term, short-term, or one-shot - even if it is in someone else's world.

And I've been told, of course, that there are plenty of NSers who like a very DnD style character-RP, and those have always been popular with GCRs, so 'hard' character-RP is definitely still an option!

What kind of government structure do you envision for this? Something more central like GCRs or?

No, I definitely want to organize it like a more traditional RP region - I'm looking to avoid what I believe to be missteps by, say, GCR communities in terms of RP, where there are strict cartography staff who exercise a lot of personal control over the maps and who don't just take responsibility but also claim a pretty extensive right over the map, or canon-moderators who tell people what is or isn't correct beyond making sure that people who RP together like to RP together. I want it to be a largely community-driven affair with a pretty strongly defined permanent regional administration - a very thin hierarchy.

So maybe a slight segue, but when I was in TNP, I noticed that the style of modern-tech RP has really held on to some of the things that led the 'main' NS community to move closer to Future-Tech. A lot of the problems in that community were down to a very winner-takes-all approach to nation RP, and political RP, where characterization and really telling stories fell by the wayside on behalf of 'winning'. One of the problems with this, and in fact the central problem, is that this is both a symptom and a cause of an unhealthy social environment. Azhukali was popular not just because it was a great RP region, but because it was a group of people who liked RPing with each other. That's what led to the Future-Tech community of today, that spirit of sociability and RPing together first, and letting skill and quality develop organically from just wanting to tell great stories with each other.

I think there are a lot of opportunities in taking the next step - to move from wanting to tell great stories in collaborative RP, to actively developing ways that anyone can contribute to an RP world and its people no matter how much or how little time they want to devote to RP, and feel like part of that world's community, and have a place to just "shoot the breeze" so to speak. A lot of RP regions can, by nature, be very insular - you don't often hear of people saying "hey, I don't RP, but I read your RP and I thought it was cool, even if I don't RP myself". I think there's a lot of value on the RP side to having people who can help you work through ideas that they may be interested in reading, and not writing, and I'm really looking hard to find opportunities at the other end, for RP to provide value to non-RPers - even if that's primarily to drive activity and to create a core community from which the more informal social connections can come.

Many players, some looking at the game with rose colored glasses, lament the bygone era(s) and discuss the current one as stagnant or otherwise inferior. Players have proposed a change in mechanics or other features to bring new life to the game. What do you think about this?"

I think there's merit to the idea that NS gets fewer newbies than before, which causes stagnation in ideas and means that there's less turnover to replace established players who move on. I don't think mechanical changes will fix that except by reducing turnover. More needs to be done to expand the actual activities offered by NS communities - so many of us older players mostly just stay around to chat with people we know, rather than to participate in any deep R/D or mechanical things. Mechanical features only ever really appeal to GPers IMO anyway, and a lot of the activity in the game is produced by so many of the other communities.

So, if you were Max Barry for a day what would you do?

If i was Max Barry for a day I would probably just panic, but what I would want to do is maybe consolidate the RP forums a bit, and move P2TM to the RP section as well. I'd also love to see regions have more options for cross-regional interaction - create the potential for shared interregional message boards, where regions can each be a member of one interregional message board that can optionally cross-post to the main RMB.

What do you do for fun outside of NS?

Mostly look for jobs right now. It's been a while since I've had free time, my no #1 passion in the world is anarchism, so I write about and read a lot about anarchism. Other than that I quite like to follow the news, and keep up on politics and philosophy.

Image

My current time is mostly preparing for entering the workforce since I graduated. When I hang out with friends it's mainly boardgaming or online gaming, because a lot of my friends are very scattered around the country or world.

And, as you know, I'm a very big fan of sitcoms and British-style panel shows - other than those, I've replaced my TV watching with YouTube entirely.

Then, I also like to keep in touch with the real estate and business markets - I'm hoping to enter the real estate market in the mid term, and I'm the third generation in my family to take a more speculative approach to real estate, so it pays to keep up to date, and it's something I actually really enjoy.

Favorite movie and\or TV shows?
My favourite movie is probably Schindler's List - I saw a /really/ good documentary a while ago that I can't recall, I'm a big fan of TV-style documentaries but I also like feature-length documentaries. My favourite TV show right is The Good Place, but I was also a big fan of the lesser known British sitcom/dramedy, The Ambassadors.

Favorite music?
My music tastes are very eclectic, I listen to pretty much anything, but I tend to like things that have a lot of depth to their instrumentals and a lot of variation and a good, fast pace. although I broadly change my tastes between genres a lot, my general 'go-to' to point to as a favourite band is Vespertina - other artists I have been super into at times were Francesco Gabbani who was the Italian entry for Eurovision 2017, and Nightwish the symphonic metal band, and various comedic musical groups or individuals (NSP, Weird Al, Bo Burnham, Tim Minchin)

Favorite book(s)?
I haven't been reading nearly as much as I should be for a while, honestly - I'm still working through Tolstoy's War and Peace, which I quite like, and I was also actually a fan of Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.

In a more academic sense I enjoyed reading Jesse Cohn's Anarchism and the Crisis of Representation, but that is a very niche read. Actually no I'm going to change my answer. Pyotr Kropotkin's Memoirs of a Revolutionist was what first got me to start really identifying with anarchism, rather than just as being interested in it, and I still believe it is one of the most interesting approaches to a political treatise I know.

Favorite philosopher?

My favourite philosopher is Wilhelm Dilthey. He's a pretty niche philosopher; he was well-known in the 19th century, and is still best known primarily for his influences on Heidegger's work. Dilthey's main interest was establishing what the role of the human sciences should be - what a human scientist should seek to do, and how they should do it. He's probably most associated with the method known as 'hermeneutics', which is effectively the process of interpreting texts in order to get a closer understanding what the ideas and the concepts that their authors tried to impart, and how language is used by those texts. My primary interest in Dilthey is in his influence on events theory.

Dilthey's work came before later hermeneuticists really focused in on the more nitty-gritty of social scientific research, when we insisted on everyone being able to interpret texts in the same, predictable ways, to make broad, generalizable comments about the worlds that they try to communicate. But Dilthey's work offers a unique approach to interpreting texts not to know more about the TEXT, but about the people who write them; Dilthey's focus on the autobiography was unique at the time, and I personally believe that his work is, for the same reasons, totally applicable to understanding why people seek out participating in events, rituals, and festivals, and what importance people put on the 'active' texts of cultural participation that they create for themselves.

Who are some politicians that inspire you or are you favorite right now?

My favourite politician is a chap named Joe Toscano, who is something of a perennial candidate in Australia who runs on various platforms, including "Don't Vote."

My favourite 'opposition' politician - someone who I fundamentally disagree with - is Nigel Scullion, who is pretty unpopular for being the spokesperson behind some really terrible policy but is generally a much more forthright person that most politicians, in that he is willing to admit to the many, many mistakes he has made and is actually pretty transparent about them. Both of these politicians are Australian.

Internationally my interest in politicians is a lot more generally left-wing - Jeremy Corbyn, AOC, and I am a big fan of the Catalan and Scottish independence movements.

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What is the one or more political issues in the real world that concerns you deeply right now?

The most concerning political current event to me is, unfortunately, not that interesting - it's Brexit. It's the most fundamental political change in the current day, as the war against ISIS is probably going to stagnate as the US pulls out, the relationship between the US and Russia seems to have stalled in both directions, and the Sri Lankan constitutional crisis has come to something of a ceasefire.

A more personal second place is the continued popularity of Peter Dutton in Australia, whose extraordinary powers in the current government far outstrip his actual popularity, and his ultraconservatism really teases outright fascism in terms of his relationship with the Australian Federal Police. I'd like to see him rolled in the next election - losing his seat is unlikely but I'd like to see him snubbed from cabinet/shadow cabinet.

When it comes to Brexit though, no deal is looking more and more likely, now that May's deal seems to be comprehensively buggered on all sides; the global response to Britain's new position in the world is going to be very dramatic, maybe at the global economic level, but certainly for changing how norms and institutions work and are viewed in this world

Coming back to NationStates and political concerns. So you wake up one morning and a receive the delegacy of any region you choose. Which would you choose? And what would you do as delegate?

Probably lock-down and siege a fash region honestly. Otherwise, I'd take whatever the most dysfunctional GCR was and basically turn it into what I want Greater Azhukali to be.

Thank you to The Grim Reaper for this interview and check out Greater Azhukali for a promising roleplay centered region! It’s always really exciting to build a region from the ground up especially when you have a clear vision! Good luck <3
Last edited by Escade on Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Thatcher Whitehall
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Founded: Nov 20, 2017
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Thatcher Whitehall » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:31 pm

Incredible job, Escade!
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Kyrusia
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Capitalizt

Postby Kyrusia » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:36 pm

And now the Synth™ has spread to the forums, too.

Well done, Mermum. :clap:
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Cormactopia Prime
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Cormactopia Prime » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:38 pm

This was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable interviews I've ever done. I like the other content as well, particularly the article on Lotus symbolism.

Great work Escade. Good luck with this going forward!
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Salvarity
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Salvarity » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:40 pm

reads like communist propaganda, but ok.

good work Esc
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Queen YUNo
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Postby Queen YUNo » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:53 pm

Best magazine, especially the Cormac+TGR interviews, synthewave and flag symbolism
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Galiantus III wrote:


...is there a reason the logo for the anti-NPO New Year's jumpers looks like the butt and legs of a kneeling naked lady? :unsure:


Imperium Anglorum wrote:Lol badge hunting accusations against people who already have the badge. You don't get your whole page covered in badges when you pass more resolutions, you know.


Vancouvia wrote:
Vancouvia wrote:

Alright my bad I guess I'll check back in December 21st


No way

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Alkasia
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Postby Alkasia » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:10 pm

Wow, you really poured your heart and soul into this, and it definitely shows. The attention to detail is wonderful and the interviews are quite interesting. I look forward to more of these in the future!
Former Delegate of XKI, current Reject with a penchant for murder.
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Koth wrote:Alk resembles some sort of slime mold that asexually reproduces scum, as is standard for XKI natives
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In reference to XKI's Embassy thread:
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Saint Block
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Capitalizt

Postby Saint Block » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:09 am

I really enjoyed The Grim Reaper interview, and I hope he finds success wherever he goes. Thank you for putting all this together, Escade!

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Drop Your Pants
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Postby Drop Your Pants » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:04 am

What a boring name, change it. The Mermaid Magazine would suit better.
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Aenglaland
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Postby Aenglaland » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:35 pm

This looks wonderful, Escade. Nice job!
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Malphe
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Postby Malphe » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:51 pm

Such a socialite >:(
jk. Wonderful magazine, I love the overall tone of it, it's so much more positive than what I'm used to coming out of GP.
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Bachtendekuppen
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Bachtendekuppen » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:13 pm

This is great work Escade, congratulations! Keep it up.

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McStooley
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby McStooley » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:46 pm

IT was a good read, Escade. I look forward to the next edition!

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Escade
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Escade » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:10 am

Thatcher Whitehall wrote:Incredible job, Escade!


Thanks!

Kyrusia wrote:And now the Synth™ has spread to the forums, too.

Well done, Mermum. :clap:


Yes, spread the synth! Thanks, lovely <3


Cormactopia Prime wrote:This was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable interviews I've ever done. I like the other content as well, particularly the article on Lotus symbolism.

Great work Escade. Good luck with this going forward!


Thanks, it was a fun interview to do!

Salvarity wrote:reads like communist propaganda, but ok.

good work Esc


OMG, I told you already socialist\socialist :P

Queen YUNo wrote:Best magazine, especially the Cormac+TGR interviews, synthewave and flag symbolism


Thanks, Yuno <3

Alkasia wrote:Wow, you really poured your heart and soul into this, and it definitely shows. The attention to detail is wonderful and the interviews are quite interesting. I look forward to more of these in the future!


Thanks!

Drop Your Pants wrote:What a boring name, change it. The Mermaid Magazine would suit better.


Already had Mermaid Tales the magazine for a short time. While I don't discount mermaid related features being a part of this it is a gameplay magazine etc.

Aenglaland wrote:This looks wonderful, Escade. Nice job!


Thanks!

Malphe wrote:Such a socialite >:(
jk. Wonderful magazine, I love the overall tone of it, it's so much more positive than what I'm used to coming out of GP.


Thanks! (also proud to be a socialite )

Bachtendekuppen wrote:This is great work Escade, congratulations! Keep it up.


Thanks!

McStooley wrote:IT was a good read, Escade. I look forward to the next edition!


Thanks!

~
Other Notes & Things

I've talked to a few NSers who have been involved with journalism about whether to adopt a regular (monthly or bi-monthly) format or release as articles are written format. I'm leaning towards the former for sure.

Players interested in being interviewed - There are already some interviews in progress for the next few issues. They do take a while because they are live (so the past few, whether over Discord or VC, have taken like 3-4ish hours). If you have a suggestion, feel free to DM me.
Last edited by Escade on Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Saint Block
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Capitalizt

Postby Saint Block » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:19 pm

I’d love to be interviewed!

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Lamoni
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Lamoni » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:17 pm

I would not mind being interviewed for Gameplay Magazine.
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Escade
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Escade » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:27 pm

Lamoni wrote:I would not mind being interviewed for Gameplay Magazine.


It would be my pleasure :)

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Felt Karpit
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Founded: Aug 29, 2017
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Felt Karpit » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:39 pm

I finally got around to reading, and wow, honestly this is a really enjoyable read. I have to echo the Malphe about the tone of it, it really is nice how positive this is. I will enjoy seeing future issues. Great job

trans masculine queer person | he/they pronouns
ltn in the black hawks | vytherov
felt dabbed for our sins -malphe
get DOS - yuno
Felt unlocked the secrets of the Yee, so he’s definitely got a place in the blame game.
- ark
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Saint Block
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Founded: Dec 25, 2016
Capitalizt

Postby Saint Block » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:06 am

I’d like to see Souls be interviewed.

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Escade
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Posts: 879
Founded: Apr 11, 2013
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Escade » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:41 pm

Felt Karpit wrote:I finally got around to reading, and wow, honestly this is a really enjoyable read. I have to echo the Malphe about the tone of it, it really is nice how positive this is. I will enjoy seeing future issues. Great job


Thank you! Feedback is always appreciated!

Also am going to plug The NewsStand, they are doing a marvelous job of tracking all the news produced across NationStates!

P.S. Writers and artists with a bent for a more Vanity Fair\Vogue style writing or art experience\interest; please DM me or join the Discord server to propose articles\art pieces :) (There's already one exciting piece in progress and that might mean more frequent issues than I expected!).
Last edited by Escade on Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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