Saturday, July 19, 2014

7 Dark Videogames to Try

As the summer drags on and I find myself wilting in the sunlight I've been cocooning myself in the basement with the x-box and my laptop playing games. While some of the games I've been playing aren't strictly Goth (she said, eyeing Civilization 5 and Minecraft nervously) I thought some of them were downright spooky. So, here's my list of 7 dark video games Goths might want to try.

Limbo - X-Box 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, OnLive, PlayStation Vita, iOS



Limbo is one of my favorite all-time games. After playing it on my friend's 360 I quickly bought it for mine and played through the whole thing in a few hours. Limbo is a platformer with one of the most bleak aesthetics I've ever seen. The entire game is monochromatic black and white and your small child character must escape big insects and set death traps on his quest to find his sister. The gameplay is solid, the atmosphere dark, and I just adore it.

The Darkness - X-Box 360, Playstation 3



Based on the comic of the same name, the original The Darkness game is a first person shooter with an emphasis on psychological horror. You play as Jackie (who internet Game Critic and/or professional troll Yahtzee says "looks for all the world like a cross between Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, and Morticia Addams") who has ancient demonic powers and a selection of nice heavy ordinates with which to destroy your fellow man.  It's sequel, which I haven't played, was less well received, so I'd stick with the original.

American McGee's Alice - Windows, Mac OS, Playstation 3, X-Box 360



Would this list be complete without the videogame that spawned more dark-Alice costumes than possibly any other rendition of the classic tale? American McGee's Alice is a platformer in which Alice, who has been committed to an insane asylum after the death of her family, must explore a twisted and broken Wonderland under the tyrannical rule of the Queen of Hearts. 

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Tiger Handheld, PlayStation Network, PSP


Castlevania, one half of the fabled "Metroidvania" genre of early videogames, is one of the old Playstation games that makes me which I hadn't been an X-Box household after I played it at a friend's house. You play as Alucard, Dracula's son (see what they did there?), and traverse through open levels destroying all of the mythical creatures that are littered between you and where you need to be. Not only in the box art one of my favorites of all time (swoon), it's considered a cult classic and definitely worth a look for anyone who enjoys retro games.


Silent Hill 2 - Playstation 2, X-Box, X-Box 360, Playstation 3, Windows



Silent Hill 2 is a horror game in which the main character, James, goes to the town of Silent Hill in order to find his dead wife who has recently contacted him. This is the game that spawned the sexy zombie nurses and Pyramid Head powerhouse that became endemic to the later Silent Hill games, but which serve atmospheric purpose in this game better than any other. The layers of symbolism and the character arc that James goes through make it one of the better games to come out of the PS2. 

Bioshock - Microsoft Windows, OS X, Cloud (OnLive), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3



Bioshock, oh, Bioshock. I actually haven't mustered up the energy to finish it because the atmosphere is so good that I'm almost too scared to finish (yes, I am a wimp.) While you play this Steampunk-esque game you traverse through Rapture, a Utopian underground city that has gone completely to shit, to see how everything went totally wrong. On the way you'll find more than a few people trying to kill you, and more than a few creepy little girls either needing to be killed or be saved. Of course, that's not even mentioning the Big Daddies, the creepy dudes in diver suits that I'm trying my best to avoid on my run through. 


Dark Souls - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows


Do you feel that normal video games don't challenge you enough? Do you breeze through all of the challenges you're faced with in the Elder Scrolls, or does the aesthetic of the Fable series leave something to be desired? Dark Souls is one of the most merciless games I've ever played, but one of the most amazingly atmospheric. Like in Bioshock, you're left to explore a ruined world and discover its secrets as you traverse from one end to a staggeringly large map to another. However, the scenery can't be beat for someone like me who can't get enough ruined castles and cathedrals. If you're new to video games or get frustrated easily, maybe give this one a pass, but for everyone else I definitely recommend it.

What are your favorite video games, Goth or not?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Welcome to Night Vale Style Inspiration

A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale. 




If aren't aware of Welcome to Night Vale, I want to know what internet rock you've been hiding under. The podcast's huge following seems to have permeated pretty much every corner of the internet and it is much beloved for its creepy, ethereal and funny tones.

But, if you're just now joining us, Welcome to Night Vale is a free podcast by Commonplace Books done in the style of a community radio station for the imaginary desert town of Night Vale. However, Night Vale is not what it seems. The radio host Cecil Baldwin gives his listeners updates on the town which range from average to extraordinary and include a cast of characters ranging from Old Woman Josie (out near the car lot) to angels, hooded figures, a mysterious floating cat, and Steve Carlsburg (ugh.) And, of course, a sexy new scientist in town Carlos, who is just trying to figure out what the hell is going on here.

And, since WTNV celebrated its 50th episode yesterday (not including A/B episodes, etc.), I thought I would post some style inspiration based on it (although I tried to avoid the sweater vest head-cannon that many people have for Cecil) , because why?)


Color Schemes

Welcome to Night Vale's logo is a purple illustration of an eye hovering over a desert town, so purple is going to feature heavily in most outfits inspired by the show. If you have anything glow-in-the-dark now would be the time to bust that out, too.

Pins and Stuff

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Motifs

Some motifs associated with the WTNV mythos would be clouds (glowing preferred), eyeballs, stars, runes, moons, spiders, galaxies, drips, and other such creepy and extra-terrestrial things.

Park



Creepy Cute

The creepy cute aesthetic that has been recently popular will make a great addition to any Welcome to Night Vale-inspired outfit as it mirrors WTNV's love of mixing unlike elements for comedic and unsettling effect. Etsy is full of "creepy cute" items of jewelry and clothing, and it's a good change up if you (somehow) are tired of wearing all black.

CreepyCute


Creepy Creepy

While some moments in Night Vale are on the silly side, some of them can be downright existentially horrifying so here's another look that edges on the Nightmare Punk side of Goth fashion. Simple, striking, and ethereal.

Mort


Official Merch

Of course, if you're looking for brand merchandise, it's all available online at TopatoCo. Personally I have my eye on this flask, but for this look I went with a t-shirt.

Goodnight, Goodnight


Do you guys listen to Welcome to Night Vale?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Babybat Starter Pack - Music

Yesterday on Tumblr someone asked me what advice I would give to Babybats. While I answered with the usual advice, such as encouraging thrifting and smart Halloween shopping, I thought today I would expand on that by making a Youtube playlist devoted to some of my personal favorite spooky songs. Enjoy!




What songs would you advise a babybat to listen to?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Outfit Post: Violette

Things have been oddly hectic here for me. I'm currently making the arrangements for this coming academic year because I'll be heading to Scotland to study abroad for ten months. While I'm super excited to go, it does mean a lot of phone calls and e-mails to various government/academic associations to make sure everything is in order. I've also been learning French, which I adore but which keeps me rather busy.

Still, I think I looked cute today:






Skirts: Retroscope Fashion, Thrifted
Blouse: Torrid
Necklace, Boots: Gifts
Belt: DIY

What have you all been up to lately?



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Picnic Meet-Up Recipes for Goths

In 2012 I made a list of ten unusual Goth meet-up ideas because I figured that Goths could do with some more non-club social opportunities. Still, with it now being summer it is definitely picnic weather, so I decided to compile some recipes to share should any of you be hosting a picnic with other spooky types.



First some suggestions for a picnic meet-up:

  • Survey the visitors to find out if anyone has allergies or dietary restrictions. If you are still bringing something that someone can't eat, make sure you bring a card with the ingredients on it so that everyone can judge for themselves.
  • If your group has under 21's or people who do not drink alcohol, I would recommend not bringing any alcohol at all. Or, at least, have some good non-alcoholic options for everyone else. (And be aware of policies in your area regarding alcohol in public spaces.)
  • Feel free to take your foods in pretty Goth containers, like these Halloween tupperware containers or black cat bento boxes


Drinks:

Lavender lemonade, my recipe!
Virgin Fruit Sangria
Pomegranate Iced Tea
Strawberry Lime Agua Fresca
Black Magic Cocktail
Iced Mint Green Tea

Picnic Foods:

Garlic Hummus
Falafel Salad
Raw Zucchini Salad with Avocado and Edamame
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries, preferably on baguette with goat cheese
Chicken and apple salad
Green Tomatillo Salsa, on chips
Strawberry Almond Shrimp Salad

Desserts:

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Yogurt Ice Pops with Berries
Mini Fruit Tart Cheesecakes
Raspberry Chocolate Ice Pops

What would you bring to a picnic meet up?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Link Round-Up - Fashion, Music, & More

After being on hiatus for a while I feel like I lost contact with the rest of the alternative world, so I thought I'd take a post sharing some of the really excellent Goth-related things I found online when I got back:


  1. This beautiful Plus-Sized Underbust Corset by my friends and affiliates at Hips and Curves 
  2. An instructable for DIY skeleton flats
  3. If you're feeling the summer blues and missing Halloween, take a look at the 365 days of Halloween tumblr.
  4. The Walrus Room posted a guide for growing out black hair and switching it to a lovely red color.
  5. Cinema Strange - The Toad Curse and How it Perished in the Flames.
  6. An awesome spooky webseries called The Goreys that is currently on its second season.
  7. The Evil Supply Co. mystery box for this month is Dracula themed.
  8. On Apartment Therapy: the black bedroom and bathroom of your dreams.
  9. A behind-the-scenes look at how the lovely Karoliina made a homemade bustle out of a pillow.
  10. Voltaire - Ravens Land
  11. crowd-funded book about the music side of our Goth subculture by John Robb of the Membranes. 
  12. An entire tumblr dedicated to beautiful Victorian houses.
  13. A steel boned mesh waspie from Orchard Corset
  14. Nevermore Raven scarf from BinaryWinter on Etsy
  15. Adorna Dark's spooky Home Decore Pinterest board.
What cool things have been going on in your corner of the internet?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reader Question: Budget Plus-Sized Goth

Ms. Mary Rose, a.k.a. The Everyday Goth, 
Hello! I am a young woman in her early twenties, and I find myself in a state of self-exploration. Particularly I am finding myself drawn towards the Gothic subculture. I've flirted with it before, as a teenager, but now I feel as if I've finally found who I am.  
This should be happy thing I know, but I am feeling rather frustrated as of late. I've searched, far and wide, through countless retail stores and thrift shops, but I can't seem to find any suitable clothes to start building my gothy wardrobe. I am a size 24-26 and even in thrift stores the selection is dismal. Budget restraints and affordability are also key factors in my search.
Where could I find clothes to suit my style, budget, and body type/size? Is it as hard for you to hunt for pieces? Do you know of any resources that cater to gothicly-inclined plus-size fashion?  
Please help :( 
Sincerely,
K.B.

Hi K.B., and welcome to the spooky side! I'm glad you're coming to terms with your Goth self, and your situation is one I find eerily familiar (as a plus-sized Goth who is turning twenty this August.) I'll say this now: you're not going to build this wardrobe overnight for $50. Building a wardrobe is a complicated thing, especially when you have the limitations of clothing sizes and a very specific style, but it's not impossible! Jillian Venters at Gothic Charm School covered this topic back in 2012, but here are my two cents:


Build


First, you're going to need a to sit down and really decide A) what your style is and B) what pieces you need to fulfill that plan. For example, I use my Pinterest fashion board for inspiration as to what I want my style to look like and then planned my Corp-Goth wardrobe more specifically here. Now is the time to decide if you want something super elaborate and frilly, like Gothic Lolita, or something more similar to Nu-Goth, or TradGoth/Deathrock. That will inform what you buy later on.

I suggest anyone looking to build up a Goth wardrobe first buy some basics and, unless you're dressing in the most elaborate of Goth styles, that usually means you can begin close to home with regular stores. Whatever is nearest to you, really. I've found some of my basics at Macy's, Nordstrom Rack, H&M Target, Torrid, Forever21 (no, really) and other places you wouldn't usually think of as Goth.

And a bonus resource: WTF, Plus Size Clothing has a masterpost of locations that offer plus-sized clothing and, while the goth-ness of it all might be questionable, it's a great place to start looking.

Look around stores for basics in your size: plain t-shirts, slacks or skirts suitable for work, jeans, jackets and blazers, tights/stockings, and simple shoes. Reference the wardrobe plan I told you to create earlier. For a Goth wardrobe, it makes the most sense that these basics that will form the foundation of your wardrobe will be black. If you find a basic that you especially love, and if you can afford it, buy multiples. I myself have 3-4 black v-necks from Target and they're my go-to top.

Remember: if these basics seem boring and totally-not-Goth to you, that's fine. You're going to add in the Goth later with more special pieces, and you can always DIY something.

Next, we're going to get into the world of online shopping, which is where you're going to build up the Goth-y side of your wardrobe. Unfortunately, because these are more specialty stores, they're going to be more expensive. However, if you already have your wardrobe basics somewhat cheaply, you should be able to purchase more expensive pieces occasionally to add more spook to your wardrobe. And, as always, remember to wait for sales and special offers from the stores, usually around the holidays.

First thing's first: get thee a tape measure.

A lot of your clothing shopping is going to happen online, so you're going to need to figure out what your measurements are. Forget vanity sizes and just focus on numbers for your waist, hips, bust and upper arms, which will be far, far more helpful when shopping online.

Here are some of the stores I know that offer plus-sized Goth-y fashion:

  • Fan Plus Friend for Gothic Lolita, Aristocrat, and Visual Kei inspired fashion.
  • SimplyBe, a plus-sized online store that goes up to 28 and is currently having a big summer sale.
  • ChicStar, which has some retro-y and goth stuff and a variety of sizes.
  • Pin-Up Goth Clothing, pin-up fashion "for all sizes"
  • Sour Puss Clothing has mostly straight sizes but they offer stuff from a lot of stores so there is usually something in your size. 
  • Heavy Red, which is on the expensive side but some of their items go up to a 3X and others have a lot of stretch.
  • Gloomth, who offer lolita-styled clothing, some of it in plus-sizes.
  • The Gothic Shop, which has an entire plus-sized section on their website, bless their hearts.


I know the difficulties of plus-sized thrifting which can turn "fun fashion scavenger hunt" into a saddening realization that plus-sized fashion options are incredibly limited, especially if you're not interested in stained t-shirts and weirdly bright and shapeless polyester tents. But! That doesn't mean you should give up on thrifting altogether. My IRL friend Bridie, known on Tumblr as thriftorama, has a wonderful, body-positive guide to making the most of thrifting as a plus-sized person, which I suggest you read. Again, look for basics for your wardrobe rather than specifically Goth-y pieces.

Then, it's time to add the icing to this wonderful Goth-y cake we've been making. There are really great stores out there that offer Goth-y jewelry and accessories which can turn even the most basic of black outfits into something unmistakably Goth. Some of my favorites are:

  • Restyle.Pl, who don't have a great plus-sized selection of clothing but who have amazing bags and jewelry for decent prices. 
  • Farjil, an Etsy jewelry retailer with great animal skull necklaces, among other things.
  • Ghost Love, one of my first spooky jewelry loves.
  • Corset Story, who have one of the most popular and best priced selections of corsets, including plus-sized. 
  • Demonia, the Gothic shoe store
  • New Rocks, the runner-up Gothic shoe store
  • Dr. Martens, the...boot store? I rambled about some of my favorites here.
  • Bone Jewelry, an Etsy jeweler who make items out of animal bones.
  • Body Jewelry Shop, which offer jewelry for your various piercings and which I've reviewed here.
  • Hips and Curves, which make beautiful corsets and lingerie for plus-sized women, some of which is beautifully spooky and elegant.
  • Sock Dreams, which is exactly what it sounds like. Amazing socks and stockings in tons of styles. 
  • Alchemy Gothic, which is on the expensive side of spooky Jewelry so it's more of a treat.
  • Blood Milk Jewels, also on the expensive side but beautifully occult-like


Lastly: DIY. Any of the above pieces, especially the thrifted stuff and the store-bought basics, can be DIYed into something completely new and spooky. Adding notions like lace or scraps of fishnet, changing buttons, adding safety pins, etc. can give a custom look that people of any skillset can accomplish.

To my other readers, do you have any advice for K.B. on where to find good budget plus-sized Goth clothing?