Thursday, February 06, 2014

A Dumb Korra Card I Made

I don't have a tumbl, so here's a dumb card I made.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Miyazaki Explains it all



Miyazaki says it all Some defenders of moe think moe haters merely hate cute character designs, but that's not true at all. Miyzaki has cute girls in almost all of his works, but the line between Kiki's Delivery Service and I'm Creepily Obsessed With My Little Sister is Miyazaki's ability to reach people who aren't already fans. One can watch Ponyo in a theater with grandmothers and little kids.  Guns That Are Girls Now With All Panties All the Time can only be watched with a small subset of other fans.
      The problem with moe, and with today's superhero comics, is that het male fetishes have taken over and are overpowering what makes normal people fans of art- plot and characters. If every female character is interchangeable except for their hair color, and the plot is replaced with debates about pastry, what is the entry way to non fans?
     This is why superhero movies are popular and superhero comics are not. In the movies, the fact that this is a commercial media is remembered. Superhero comics started as a commercial medium- a cheap way to entertain young people. Instead of in text debates about how many superheroes could dance on the head of a pin, the movies have a simple understandable plot with distinct characters.
 Moe anime takes away what appealed to me at first about anime. I want action and adventure. I want characters to care about. I understand that old men may be wanking to my faves, but I don't need to hear them while I'm watching.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Frozen: Or Not Every Movie Has To Be For Everybody

Frozen is a movie that had so much potential to be a classic, but just fell short. The first few songs were forgettable, and the deaths of their parents was overly predictable, and glossed over. The animation was to notch- the solidity of the ice blocks, the beauty of the snow, and how their dresses moved was show stopping. Then we have....a dumb snowman.
   Which was pretty disappointing. I wish they had trusted the audience more. If they needed marketable characters for dolls, they should have used the trolls: cute characters with different "personalities".


I wanted to just sit with Anna being rejected by Elsa without laugh lines. But no, here's the snowman. This movie is PG rated. That means that this movie is not aimed at three year olds. Children who are in elementary school are able to take in a scene for five minutes without jokes, even if Disney doesn't understand this.
     Luckily, the dumb snowman only really wastes 15 minutes of runtime,  and we did get that amazing Let It Go number and snow statute Anna. I paid $8 to see this, but it was worth about $6.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Unpopular Opinion: I Hate Cards Against Humanity

    As a big meanie fun hater, I can't stand Cards Against Humanity. There's nothing I enjoy less than sitting at a table while people snicker about sassy black women and big black cocks. The idea that folks need a game to give themselves permission to act like dickbags decades after white boy backlash shows like Famly Guy and South Park have given us way too many "edgy" retreads of the same old sterotypes sickens me. People think they are really pushing the envelope by being offensive, but it's just the same old overchewed gum spit into our mouths.
    Other than being boring and tired, like Apples to Apples for the kids who yell the n word on Xbox Live, it's passive aggressive oppression. People can vent their unoriginal racism and sexism in a "safe" "joking" manner. You aren't supposed to call people on the content of "jokes". This is why we ended up with the onion calling a 9 year old girl a c---. They felt free to unleash their misogynoir because being offensive is automatically considered funny. It's a good smoke screen for unexamined douchebaggery. And I admit that I don't want to know that about people.
   Part of the reason I love games and gaming is that it doesn't matter who you are. Cards ruins that by reasserting the power structure. White men get to "win" by not being offended by "petty" concerns like ableism and sexism. The rest of us "lose" by being disquieted or uncomfortable. There's pressure for us to be "fun" by cosigning soft bigotry. I don't want to be fun. I want to have it.
    

Thursday, July 04, 2013

In Praise of Rip Offs

One thing I'm sick of hearing is "X is a rip off of ". Lately I heard Pacific Rim was a rip off of Eva because they have people piloting giant robots! And of course, we've all heard about how The Hunger Games is stupid becuse Battle Royale.  It's always said with a superior tone as if no one could possibly enjoy stories without a wholly original plot. Of course, there's never an acknowledgement that a story might go further back- that someone would say that Evagelion is a rip off of "Gundam" or that Battle Royale is a rip off of the Running Man. Nope! The world begins and ends with


I love "rip offs" I love to see a story told and retold. For example,  the Across the Universe trilogy is set on a "generation ship" where generations of people live and die on a spaceship.  A girl from Earth is unthawed and falls in love with a young leader on the ship. The inhabitants of the ship are organized in extreme devotion to their leader. The first time I encountered this story was in an Ursula LeGuin story "Paradises Lost"- another generation ship, with people choosing to live on the ship as part of a new cultic religion, rather than land on the new planet.  With the attitude above- I would have dismissed it as "A rip off! With stupid girl love in it!" If I did, I would have missed a story full of power struggles, genetic engineering and pterodactyls  eating people alive.

Even if two stories  have generation ships or giant robots or teens fighting to the death for the entertainment of all, from that point the story will branch and change. The story of teens fighting to the death branches and we end up in story about the burden of fame and survivors' guilt, and how a revolution can change and warp those who worked for it. The generation ship branches and the story about how a shipborns can lose sight of the original mission of their ancestors and go their own way, becomes a story about revenge and power and struggle. I have no idea what Pacific Rim will be about. I hope to find out.

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring Eddy and Extraneous Romance: A Case Study

I saw Spring Eddy today, and what could have been an amazing movie was marred by random romance. The first part of the movie was great. Our dim witted protagonist Eddy gets himself into one wacky fix after another- complete with mobsters, rednecks and people inexplictably wearing cowboy hats.The plot is simple but understandable - Eddy needs money fast and also needs to  get out of town fast. However, when he gets put in the slammer and his ex fiance has to get him- the movie hits a huge snag.

They introduce a guy who cleans out septic tanks for a living, his stalking of his ex, and his stalking of Jennie, Eddy's ex fiance. They meet cute during a car crash, blah blah blah. Of course, there's also an additional subplot including the hit man after Eddy and some random Western wear lady. The main plot: this idiot needs to avoid getting killed for crossing the mob has great narrative tension. When we see him interact with a scantly clad hitchhiker - we think "Man, this won't be good", and wonder what happens next. When he tries to stick up a bank (on free gun day) - the result is important to whether he gets away or not

However, whether some septic tank salesman gets laid or not is not. When a movie starts off with life or death stakes, taking time out to worry about whether two random folks will knock boots really is jarring. I see this in YA a lot, actually. Sure, the evil government/aliens/vampires are out to kill a girl, but which guy should she choose? The fact that these are just side characters makes the padding even more apparent. Jennie has a part to play in that we're waiting to see if she can get Eddy out of jail. Her new boothang is irrelvant.

The hitman/random chick is less jarring since it's set up as a (flimsy) excuse to get the writer out of the corner he has written himself into. I wish he'd trust the audience- I could see several ways to get Edie out of there without a paper thin romance. 

A movie isn't like a novel where one can convey the love lives of every minor character in detail. A movie is a short story. Every moment must pull its own weight. When we add romance just because it's expected- the movie becomes heavy and bloated.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 01, 2013

Pocket Stables

After the disappointing Pyraplex , Pocket Stables is a return to form for Kairosoft. The graphics appear much improved although still charming and lo fi. The gameplay is a mixture of the two separate Kairosoft genres- the Game Dev story style where the player builds a product and lets it run and the Oh! Edo Towns type 'build em up' where the player tries to create 'combos'. You build your ranch, complete with training facilities, places for your horses and jockeys to live, and visitor facilities. No 'combos' here, but placing facilities correctly and brightening the place up with plants is part of your path to success.

The real star of the game is (of course) the racing. You can choose your tactics, skip past the announcer's blah blah blah and see how your horse does. My only problem is that the course preview doesn't show the curves of the track like Grand Prix Story. The mechanics of training for a race are simple- your horses use your training facilities and you can use special training at the cost of money/medals(the 'research points' for this game) and fatigue. You can also research, equip and upgrade abilities such as 'speed'.

The base horses you can buy are pretty dire, but luckily, due to the breeding mechanic, you can create much better horses. This mechanic really shines as it lets the player tinker around.  I noted that Pyraplex was disappointing before, and the reason was that you could get everything on the first playthrough. Pocket Stables much improves on this. I have not won a triple crown yet, but I'm still working on it. I also enjoy the attention to detail- the backwards walking sprites on the observation deck, the odd little indicators of the horse breed(a fro for bouffant, a little top hat for noblesse), and the strange breaks from reality such as the fact that people apparently pay over $10 to take cell phone pictures of your ranch.

Yes, Kairosoft has a formula, and if you like the formula, you'll like most of the games. I enjoy these lo fi sims which allow you to play either for a few minutes or a few hours.  I find their games soothing- usually I mute the music on Kairosoft games but for Pocket Stables I like to listen to the soothing music as the visitors, horses and jockeys go about their tiny business.

I find as I get older the games I want to play are more retro in style. Smaller, cheaper, less stimulation. Pocket Stables keeps the faith.

Labels: , ,