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Most of It
Billy looks back over at him, drying his blood-free hand on a corner of the plaid shirt. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Billy asks. Steve says, “I wish I fucking knew,” even though he does know. What he means is, I wish I could get it to fucking stop. (21,347 words)
steve_harrington  billy_hargove  billy/steve  hurt!billy  abused!billy  protective!billy  ptsd!steveharrington  protective!steveharrington  pov:steveharrington  friendship  highschool  abuse:child  ptsd  slowburn  preslash  fandom:strangerthings  author:lymricks 
yesterday by elwarre
Why Path’s “personal network” is broken
“‘I just don’t think people like making lists of their friends. It’s not how we think about our friends. It’s a pain to make a wedding list, a holiday party list. Nobody likes to do that, to exclude people.’”
social  friendship 
2 days ago by jasdev
Ordeal - karenmcfadyyon - Stargate Atlantis [Archive of Our Own]
"As in they want to whip Ford."

"What?" Rodney processed Sheppard's expression. "We can't let that happen, right?"

"Right." Sheppard nodded, looked a little less tense. "But there are a lot of innocent noncombatants in this village, and I really don't like killing noncombatants. Although I could make an exception for this fucker." He lifted his chin toward the tallest man in the group of natives who was arguing bitterly with Teyla.
l:atlantis  l:offworld  p:rodney/john  f:sga  rating:nc-17  team!fic  friendship 
2 days ago by miss_speller
Always Stuck In Second Gear
After Wendy Vincente spilled the location of her brother's secret cabin, Agents Beyoncé and Jay-Z had a lead to follow. Tracking Lucifer while confined to a pickup truck wasn't exactly Crowley's preferred modus operandi, but at least he was in good company.
Supernatural  Castiel  Crowley  25-50  Gen  Friendship  RoadTrip  Humor  Author:ThayerKerbasy 
2 days ago by LilyC
Fathom Me
"After ten years, Arthur thinks he has Merlin all figured out. But as he watches Merlin, he finds out that he has more questions than answers. The longer he thinks about it, the more uneasy he feels. So he pushes it aside. Except, he can no longer ignore the questions he has about Merlin." (21,680 words) Sequel to: Laundry's Hard Work
merlin  arthur  gwaine  merlin/arthur  bamf!merlin  scarred!merlin  protective!merlin  clueless!arthur  understanding!arthur  protective!arthur  jealous!arthur  character_study  hurt/comfort  friendship  magic  magic!reveal  confession/secrets  scars  jealousy  preslash  series/verse  merlin:postseries  fandom:merlin  author:supercalvin 
3 days ago by elwarre
Finding Home
"Written for a kinkme_merlin prompt. When Gaius retires a new physician takes over and quickly kicks Merlin out of his room and takes it for himself. Arthur finds Merlin sleeping in the stables...and it's winter." (7857 words)
merlin  arthur  merlin/arthur  protective!arthur  understanding!arthur  friendship  character_study  magic  confession/secrets  slowburn  first_time  fandom:merlin  author:riventhorn 
4 days ago by elwarre
Why the return of Animal Crossing feels so good - Polygon
"THE POWER OF NICE

A seemingly-unrelated selection of shows and movies in the past few years have each gained their fair share of critical acclaim, popularity and financial success, all linked by one common trait: They’re unrelentingly nice.

The Paddington movies have both found massive critical and box office success, all while essentially being feature-length commercials about the virtues of being polite and kind. Paddington 2 is currently the highest-rated Rotten Tomatoes movie of all time, usurping Toy Story 2’s record of the most consecutive certified Fresh ratings from reviewers. The total number of tracked positive reviews for Paddington 2 is 205, compared to zero negative reviews, for those counting at home.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a heartfelt and straightforward documentary about the life and work of Mister Rogers, is now the highest-grossing biographical documentary of all time.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwktRDG_aQ ]

But this trend (can I call it “nicecore?”) isn’t just limited to theatres.

On the small screen, NBC’s Making It, which may be the first craft-based reality competition show I’ve ever seen, pulled in millions of viewers over its six-week summer run and was just greenlit for a second season. And on Netflix, there is the runaway success story of the Queer Eye reboot, which, on top of effortlessly conveying a message of positivity, kindness and betterment through self-care, also won three Emmys this year. It was nominated for four.

The trend of Nice Media seems to be the sun-filled, hopeful answer to the negativity and division offered nearly everywhere else. No single video game series encapsulates that sense of safe, intentional and welcoming niceness like Animal Crossing, and it has been doing it for almost 20 years.

BELLS AND WHISTLES

There is no game quite like Animal Crossing, which makes it hard to properly explain and even harder to recommend. Most people won’t share your enthusiasm when you sit them down and tell them that the minute-to-minute gameplay mostly involves harvesting fruit, paying off personal debt to an enterprising raccoon, and delaying your Saturday night plans to make sure you can watch a dog play guitar.

But at its core, Animal Crossing is about living in a small town composed entirely of anthropomorphic animals. Sometimes you’re a villager, and sometimes you’re the mayor. What you do from there is up to you.

It shares the general God’s-eye-view life simulator vibe of The Sims, but it’s way less interested in letting you micromanage a neighborhood of people. Instead, it gives you direct (but decidedly less omnipotent) control over a single villager’s life.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ6eGtsgbfM ]

While it can be just as surprisingly addictive and compelling as farming games like Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons and Stardew Valley, the looming threat of bankruptcy is the driving force of those games, compelling every player in the same direction of a more profitable farm. Meanwhile, Animal Crossing is happy to let your debt remain unpaid forever, and your villager has no discernible job or occupation. At least until New Leaf shoved you into the world of municipal governance.

The only real goal in these games is to pass the time in the best way you see fit; the endgame is to be happy. Along the way, like most fans of the series, you’ll likely find yourself having your own moments of emotional connection with the game. Everyone ends up with their own personal Animal Crossing moments, and those personal stories are a huge reason why people love the games as much as they do.

Feel free to share your own stories in the comments. I’m going to start with some of my own.

SMALL TOWN STORIES

My time with Animal Crossing goes all the way back to the GameCube original, a game that announced its humble intention to take over my life right on the front cover. The game’s save files were so large that they required an entire 59-block memory card’s worth of space, so that initial release came bundled with its own memory card as a gesture of practical kindness.

That memory card would soon hold a world that I relied on in a very direct way.

I went through a months-long depressive episode near the tail end of my sophomore year of high school, thanks to a mixture of hormones and early-era cyberbullying. I did all my schoolwork remotely, and spent my days either visiting a child psychologist or playing the GameCube. I would send letters to my villagers (specifically Rasher, Pierce and Goldie) about how sad, lonely and suicidal I was feeling.

They would send me carpets and shirts in return; that’s just what Animal Crossing villagers do. And it helped, especially since they would remember if I didn’t visit them for a few days. The game would tell me, specifically, how many days it had been since I had last interacted with it. It kept me accountable, made me feel needed and got me through a difficult (but all-too-common) part of my teenage years.

While reminders to come back to games are now common in the age of mobile gaming, Animal Crossing never felt like a nag. It was a relationship that gave as much as it asked me to give, and it held me accountable when even playing a game felt like it would be too much.

This trend would continue throughout my life, with major emotional moments supported and enhanced by my time in a virtual village. Animal Crossing: Wild World was there when I was dealing with constant insomnia-inducing stress nightmares during my time in university, with soothing music and absolutely no judgment about my sleep patterns.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ITM1vFiV6U ]

My New Leaf town was a monument to the people I loved at the time: fruit trees from a visiting friend, rare Nintendo-specific items from my brother, and clothing and letters from my partner at the time. The town was also essentially abandoned during our breakup, left for Isabelle (the player’s Deputy Mayor and the newest addition to the Smash Bros. Ultimate roster) to run during my years-long absence.

I logged back in when the game updated two years ago. And although Isabelle remembered the exact number of days I had been gone, the damage wasn’t beyond repair. My house was filled with roaches, but they could be cleared out within a few minutes. The once-pristine fields of Fürville had become overgrown with weeds, but a helpful sloth would cheer you on as you removed them or, for a small fee, get rid of them all for you overnight. Friends would move away, but they’d always send a goodbye letter, and new villagers would be eager to greet you and start virtual relationships.

There is no way to win in Animal Crossing, but that also means there’s no way to lose. Life in your village goes on without you, but it always welcomes you back.

A PLACE TO CALL YOUR OWN

The most valuable currency in Animal Crossing is time. An hour in the game is the same as an hour outside of it, so the game marches to the beat of your own life. At the same time, there is no real way to grind out progress in these titles, because they’re about patience; in fact, they seem to actively punish players who try to rush.

You cannot make a tree grow faster, but you’re liable to destroy your flower gardens or wear grass down into dirt paths by running through your town instead of walking.

You can have all the bells in the world, but you’re limited by the rotating daily stock at each of of the shops. You can catch bugs, go fishing and dig for fossils for hours each day, but you’ll still have to live through four real-world seasons to see them all. The game has its own pace, and you have to give into it if you want to get everything it has to offer. Few games are as capable of slowing us down, a trait that is sorely needed when everything else seems to be speeding up.

All of this — the emphasis on patience, the freeform approach to player agency, the overwhelming sense of forgiveness and kindness that stretches from the game’s systems to its text — combines to make a game that is, above all else, nice. And this commitment to niceness makes it an oasis of positivity in an increasingly reactionary and fragmented media landscape.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEJXS0MiKOA ]

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? transports you to a reality of kind actions and good deeds — for 93 minutes. The entire run of Queer Eye currently consists of 16 episodes and one special; you could charitably watch the whole thing in a weekend (if not an afternoon). Making It is only six episodes long, and won’t return for another year. This gathering wave of nicecore media is truly a gift, but it’s finite and fleeting — a few welcome drops of clear, cool water in an overwhelmingly murky bucket.

But the most powerful thing Animal Crossing offers us is an experience that doesn’t end after an hour or a season, but stays with us for as long as we need it. Because what we remember about these games are how they made us feel, and the stories they left us with long after we left our villages behind. They made us part of a community, and that community felt welcoming and generous.

Most games are power fantasies, and the easiest kind of power to convey is violence. They’re all about enforcing your will on the world through straightforward, goal-oriented action. And that’s enjoyable, without a doubt. But Animal Crossing offers a different sort of power fantasy: a world where you have unlimited kindness to spare, and you’re never punished for it. That doesn’t happen in real life; even Mr. Rogers’ funeral was picketed.

If nicecore is the natural artistic reaction to the state of the world, then it’s all too fitting that Animal Crossing should return and claim its throne (or, more likely, its comfortably weathered armchair) as the nicest franchise in gaming history.

It has been sorely missed."
2018  animalcrossing  nintendo  games  gaming  videogames  nicecore  niceness  fredrogers  mrrogers  mikescholars  paddington  paddingtonbear  small  slow  time  care  caring  power  violence  patience  agency  kindness  forgiveness  pace  play  presence  friendship 
4 days ago by robertogreco
syllic: Bahamian-Style Mooring
Five times Red got things in Zihuatanejo (and one time he didn’t need to get anything).

Long, healing post-movie happy ending with gorgeous characterization. <3
fic  shawshankredemption  gen  friendship  postcanon  fivethings  yuletide  <15K  +2016-11 
4 days ago by spatz
kajikia: The Ocean of Forgetting
"Stay," Andy says later, still smiling, when they're sitting in the shade of the boat—Andy's boat. "I need a man who knows how to get things."

Red looks down at his hands, feeling old and tired and lost. Forty years is a long time to be away from the world. "Andy—" he starts. I'm not that man anymore.

Andy puts his hand on Red's shoulder. "I need a friend," he says, smile fading.

Red stays.
fic  shawshankredemption  slash  andy/red  ust  postcanon  friendship  <5K  +2011-06 
4 days ago by spatz
Homecoming - sgamadison - Stargate Atlantis [Archive of Our Own]
Rodney thought it would be nice if they took a vacation where no one was shooting at them. Spoilers thru season 5.
angst  f:sga  p:rodney/john  l:earth  vacation  pre.ship  friendship  rating:nc-17 
6 days ago by miss_speller

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