Judge Appreciation Week: Athena

Happy Tuesday, adventurers, and welcome to more appreciating of the Blogger Blitz judges! Today the judge of choice is the second person to sign up as a judge, Athena. You can check out her content at AmbiGaming Corner, and if you’re not sure where to start, I certainly have some suggestions.

I first interacted with Athena as part of the Charming and Open event on my blog. She asked me what I thought about silent protagonists and I asked her what she thought about the power of choice in video games. The article that came out of that was quite entertaining, and although Athena kind of jokes about the fact that her response is something of a non-answer, it reflects that no trend in gaming is a simple as “it’s good” or “it’s bad.”

inFamous 2
Good, bad, it’s all perspective, really.

Once I got to reading Athena’s posts a bit more, I began to discover just how much depth she puts into her work. Athena does not cobble together any post halfway, and once she begins exploring a subject she’s really going to look into it. This gives her articles a scholarly feel, and it feels good to read them because afterwards you feel like you learned something.

I find this to be the case even when I know pretty much nothing about what she’s talking about. For example, I have never played Mass Effect, yet I still read this article about whether or not Andromeda was legitimately bad. I think part of what appealed to me so much about this one is that you can replace Mass Effect: Andromeda with the title of any other vilified video game and get much the same effect. The story of hype turning toxic is one we can all identify with, and Athena manages to deal with the subject in an objective manner in spite of her love for the series in question.

That’s not the only culturally-relevant topic she’s discussed, either. In fact, this article on Nintendo’s stock issues during the era of the NES Classic/Nintendo Switch release has now circled back to a place of relevance in light of the SNES Classic. Even though this article doesn’t necessarily answer the question of why Nintendo shortages are such a normal occurrence, it creates an environment where an intelligent conversation could be had and it really makes you think.

Mother Brain
Mmm, thinking.

A particularly enjoyable aspect of AmbiGaming Corner is the focus on subjects of a psychological nature. This pulls from Athena’s real-life background and – perhaps because of that – these are my favorite articles to read by her. I’m certainly no expert in psychology, but because it was my wife’s subject of study I’ve absorbed some secondhand knowledge, and pretty much every college major I dabbled in required at least one psychology course. All of this is to say, perhaps these articles appeal to the part of me that has lived on the fringe of psychology for the past five or so years.

If you, too, are interested in matters of the mind, I certainly have some recommendations for you from Athena’s collection. Diagnosing Bad is a relatively new but very fun series where Athena applies her knowledge to the arduous task of diagnosing the villains of video games. And almost as if she is doing a favor especially for me, she has diagnosed some of my favorite Nintendo villains, Ghirahim and Bowser! See how nice she is?

Beyond that, Athena has also gone on to explore the psychological impact of video games on the people who play them. In particular, she has discussed one topic in particular that has been a hot-button issue surrounding games for a long time: do video games cause violent behavior? Again, this is a tricky subject to discuss with any kind of objectivity as a gamer, but Athena manages to consider all the points fairly, and her conclusion is one that both makes sense and acknowledges the complexity of the issue. I loved reading this series and look forward to seeing more like it!

Super Smash Bros 64
In my mother’s mind, this game was the ultimate evil for ten-year-old me.

It has been awesome working with Athena as part of the Blogger Blitz, and if you have enjoyed seeing her thoughts on each of the posts submitted to the competition then you should definitely check out AmbiGaming Corner. It’s a great site for intelligent discourse on video games that boldly tackles the issues that gamers deal with and read about on a regular basis. So go and read her content, and be sure to come back tomorrow at 5 PM EST to appreciate the next judge in the competition!

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