Wednesday, June 30, 2010

...the medium is awesome

A long time ago, I was reading about the possibilities of web comics. The endless canvas, and so on. I rememebered this when reading this comic about the dangers of homeopathy. or the facts in the case of Wakefield.

Before the internet, maybe he could have published it in a zine, and I would have never seen it. But now, we can all enjoy it.

I also first started reading the newspaper in elementary because I liked to look at the editorial cartoons, but of course, we're limited by space, and by the editor's choice in cartoons. But thanks to the internet, we have amptoons and tom tomorrow. I love you internet!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Wishlist

I wish that Viz would make a VizBig edition of Ceres Celestial Legend. I've been reading it through the library, although sadly they are missing plenty of volumes. Netflix is also missing a lot of volumes of anime- no Code Geass R2, and only half of Welcome to the NHK, which I'm super obsessed with now. I guess people are cutting down on movie rentals, but come on!

I would like to thank the people in charge of buying manga for the Memphis Public Library for buying To Terra, Black Jack and Andromedia Stories, so that more people can enjoy classic manga.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Not entitled!

Scanalation sites made to take down licensed titles. I don't blame Viz and others at all! You can't make money off of other people's work, and expect them not to have something to say about that. Works like fansubs and scanlations stayed off the radar because people had the sense to stop disturbing licensed works, making it seem more like legitimate fan work than just making a quick profit. Now that thin veneer has been wiped away, of course folks are going to crack down.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again- WE'RE NOT ENTITLED TO MANGA. Yep! You're not entitled to read DGrayMan for free! Now, thanks to the library, I do, but if the library stopped buying volumes or doesn't have the latest, I'm not going to bitch the library out. I'm not entitled to anyone's creations.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where have you been?

To me the next big step in game design is going to be someone who figures out how to make an involving game that does not revolve around physical confrontation.

What Tom Bissel? You haven't been playing Tetris,Bejeweled, Diner Dash, Harvest Moon, Ranch Rush, Virtual Villagers, The Sims, and all the zillion games that don't revolve around physical confrontation with enemies? They are involving to many- having sold millions and having been played thousands of times. I don't understand how this guy has only played such a narrow slice of video games- especially since he is talking about the narrative value thereof! He acts like he hasn't heard of Final Fantasy- a gaming franchise which has sold millions, and doesn't talk about RPGs at all in his musings on the stories of games.

I understand that we can't sample all the gaming genres there are, but dude, there's Final Fantasy on my mobile phone. Not a fancy Iphone or whatever. A regular phone. Gaming is exploding now- consoles, PC, cell phones, ipads[I saw a nice rogue like game being played on the ipad-niiice], heck, you can download games to consoles now! Gaming is exploding- don't just stick to the core, guys, go out to the edges and seek out fun wherever it is, whether you're seating gusts at a wedding or soaring through the clouds!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gaming Is So Dead!11!

Says some dude at Cracked. Personally, I think Microsoft and Sony misstepped with the whole motion thing. If I want to do a fitness game, hey, plenty of people have Wiis. Why should I buy some new thing? And yea, I think the folks that say- you know, we have plenty of games to play already, so maybe I'm not going to go out and buy whatever is new- have a point. I still play Civilization 4 despite it being an older game, and replays of stuff like Persona 3 and 4 also take up my gamer slots. The gaming audience is getting older as well- there are a lot of children playing with their DSes in restaurants[where they shouldn't] but there are also grannies, my mom and me, playing and we tend to have less time to devote to long sessions of gaming, so we need new games less often. And of course there's the recession. Fear of losing your job can make you decide that you're fine with another playthrough of Persona 4, rather than a new game.

Also, I would like to take some time to talk about casual gaming versus 'core' or 'real' gaming. I'm an old old person[26] and so I remember when Mario Kart was a 'real' game, and now it's supposedly not a 'real' game. I find that when a game broadens its audience beyond pimply teen and immature males, it ends up being 'not a real game'.

That's bunk. Whether I'm pretending to hula hoop or pretending to murder zombies with a shotgun, it's all gaming. What I want to see is solid game play. I don't care if it's got white women in service jobs or John McMuscles,Space Marine in it as long as I can have a solid good time.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

A Whole Lot of Manga Going On

It's been outrageous here, but I'll try to review the manga as well as I can-

Afterschool Charisma

Since I read this online first, I'll probably focus a lot of the actual design of the book. It's a little bigger than the typical manga, and has a nice slipcover. The first few pages are color- they reminded me of how the book Fables is colored somehow. Reading the story all together gives me a greater sense of the mystery, and clears up a lot of things that I missed at first reading. I found the characters engaging, especially Freud and Hitler. I like Freud's intellectualism and think that he'll carry much of the plot in which we find out about the shadowy organization(s) floating around, and I also am intrigued by Shiro's father- he seems a lot more menacing on this reading.

There was more unnecessary nudity than I remember- including a short comic that wasn't online involving more boobage and Freud. I was actually amused by it though.

Gakuen Alice

Another drama about a school for the extraordinary. I bought two volumes because I got a great deal, and really enjoyed them. This manga appears to be for children, so it's got a great light humorous feel- with many amusing special powers from inventing things to facilitate laziness to a human pheromone machine, and plenty of quirky characters. However, there's a lot of mysteries- why are Alices confined to school grounds? What are the administrators planning? Who can Mikan-a typical plucky and absent minded shoujo heroine-trust? I think my pocket book will cry through all 20 volumes of these mysteries.

Andromeda Stories

This is a nice sci fi classic romp. I found the 3 volumes in the library, and enjoyed its classic usage of themes of man's dependency on machine, psychic powers, and adventure. I did not enjoy the theme of twincest, but the character's struggles seemed real and engaging- and the fight against the machine menace was well rendered. The end gave me a melancholy feeling, which is one of the best ways a manga can make me feel. Very classic.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Problem of Scanlation is Discussed

Intelligently, and without a bunch of excuses. I especially like the comment that mentioned that official publications tend to run behind. This of course divides the fans into those who follow the official releases and those who don't. People want to be in the loop. I wouldn't mind a month's delay and post them online, just as long as they put them in books, sort of a modified Ikki model. I don't really like reading manga on a screen, and so I'll want books.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

I don't get it again!

You know, folks who talk about how video games all have horrid stories all seem to play GTA and never Final Fantasy or Persona. That's like expecting Madden 2010 to be Shakespeare. And yes, some games don't have a story or a bad one. Ciivlization 4 and My Tribe are have almost no story- occasionally I make something up, and someone is probably writing about how the silly mini stories people make up- "Gandhi continues his reign of terror with his helicopter gunships over the Ethiopian landscape"- is either making us smarter or dumber or rewriting our brains somehow.

As far as bad stories, I love Ranch Rush 2, and I don't really care about the excuse plot about food pills, and in Diner Town Tycoon, whatever Grub Burger has going on with Chemical X...not interested. Although I'm sure someone could write a thesis on the themes of big business and contamination in casual games, that's not the point of the game.

And that's not a bad thing. When I watch Chopped or The Rachael Maddow Show- I'm not looking for a show that is great art. I'm not looking at Shrek or Forgetting Sarah Marshall for deathless themes, and so it is with video games. Not every single piece of entertainment has to strike a great blow for art, truth and justice. That doesn't give a pass for misogyny and racism in art, but if a game is merely entertaining, merely a pleasant way to pass the time- so be it.

I have no idea why Mario and pals are go kart racing on rainbows and through castles, and I don't need to.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Saturn Apartments

Today, I impulsively bought Saturn Apartments. While I read it, I felt my heart being pulled towards an appreciation of the earth. The characters' desire for things we take for granted like natural light or open space was expressed beautifully. Rivalry, jealousy, friendship- everything in this manga was subtle, but everything was more powerful for the fact that our author doesn't overplay it. I tend to like really intense manga, but this leisurely, artistic style works too.

Mitsu seems more like a plain Jane everyboy sort of character- loyal, hardworking,etc, but I also like how he realized the importance of the people who supported him, even though he didn't notice.

I wonder if there will be more explanation of the caste system and why earth is a nature preserve as time goes on. I also wonder about small things like them using toilet paper in space, but then again, I liked Planetes because of the management of small details like that.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Casual Games, Cost, and Quality

Has the rise of the 6.99 game decreased game quality? I don't know- maybe. As a person who loves casual games, I admit that I won't pay more than $10 for one. Why? The length. If a game has 8 hours or less of gameplay, it's not a good value if it's more than $10. Why do I say this? It's because of price comparisons. A DS game like Chrono Trigger or The World Ends with You with more than double the amount of gameplay is 19.99 at Not to mention the fact that these games are on physical media. If I want a used PS2 game, I can get many good ones for $20 or less. So collector's editions or full price is out. I'm also a core gamer, so maybe I'm unique in this.

Although quality has been lowered recently, I agree. A lot more hidden object games and a lot fewer classics like Chocolitier 2[the best of the 3], Artist Colony, or Plants vs Zombies. There are some bright spots like Ranch Rush 2 or My Tribe, but yes, quality has been reduced. I think some producers should go out on a limb, and start innovating again. 6.99 is a low price, and so some games on the borderline will be purchased, but even someone like me isn't going to play the 50th knockoff of Diner Dash unless there's a really good twist to it.

Give us something novel, and maybe we'll pay more, but probably still not as much as we'd pay for a 'core' game with over 30 hours of gameplay. Thems the breaks!