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Inclusive Conundrum

Gaming industry, you gotta make up your mind.


This sorceress has giant boobs. She's going to be in a video game. This is a problem.

Kotaku and Gearbox have pinned Vanillaware's lead artist and president with being everything from a teenage boy to a sex-offending criminal. There's no shortage of slurs and swears in what is no longer a discussion as it is a schoolyard name-calling match. I'd say Gearbox is winning, by the way. I guess stones thrown from glass houses pick up momentum.

Why is it that we've reached a point where breast size is equal to controversy? Gaming characters have a long line of big breasts, ranging from fighting games, to actions games, RPGs, and so forth. It wasn't an issue then, but it certainly is one, now.

Most of this rage comes from an industry that wants to shed the days when the industry was a boy's-only (if it ever was) clubhouse and allow admittance for females. Any girls who want to play in the house shouldn't have to play with GI Joes, sure. But should they only be able to play with Barbies that have their clothes sewed on and breasts hacked off? That doesn't sound right.

Any videogame character with large breasts is automatically sexist. This is a scientific fact. Any sexualized female is a part of a male-centric power fantasy. This is what we're supposed to believe.

But does this fit every fantasy? 

The Fantasy

There is this concept that videogames since the 80s have been developed for straight white male boys. Anything that doesn't go out of its way to show how progressive it is is clumped here.

The concept is that the boy plays as a big, strong, muscle-glimmering alpha male who roams around, beating things up with his alpha man fists and saving the super sexual woman. Imagine something along the lines of Golden Axe--but forget that you could play as a woman. Something like Mario--except neither of those leads are sexualized. Maybe Mega Man--but he's an adorable robot and doesn't save a woman. Maybe, ahm--you know just smash those three games together and you'll see what games supposedly have always been.

Gamers have argued that men in videogames are just as sexualized as women, but the counter-argument here is that the men are a part of the male fantasy as well. The male plays the big strong man saving the sexual woman. Easy enough.

Here's the problem in pushing this idea into Dragon's Crown: You are the female. You don't have to save her; you don't have to win her over. You play as her kicking ass and saving the day. She's her own power fantasy. So then, who is this power fantasy for?

To say that it's for straight males again leaves little room for women to have fantasies at all. This isn't even to mention the fantasies of gay or bisexual people, let alone transsexuals. Figuring out what fantasy is for whom is tricky and pretty well impossible.

One thing I do know is that my girlfriend always prefers to make a character for herself who has big breasts and wears provocative outfits. She's a straight white female. She should hate this, but she genuinely enjoys being a badass and sexy woman who saves the day. She says she likes to play as "pretty" women. And why wouldn't she, if the concept of the male power fantasy is that we like to play as rugged, handsome men? Women should find escape in pretending to be those stereotypical caricatures of themselves, too, right?

Why would women only want to play as rugged, flat-chested she-hulks 


The gaming industry wants to include women now more than ever. With sexist slander, employment issues, and violence agaisnt digital women causing controversy, it's easy to understand why.

So the industry reacts. They react by lashing out, screaming slander, and fighting against people's creative expressions, because they don't agree with those expression. That's not how inclusion works. 

Not only that, but it's an impossible way to include women in games. You can't tell the rain to stop raining, and you can't tell an artist not to draw breasts. The idea isn't to make less games that feature super sexualized women, it's to make more games that have what would be considered the standard archetype for women. The industry sees where women are being under-served in their escapist fantasies, and they need to fill those gaps. They don't need to lash out at those who are not.

So then the gaming industry is doing that, right?

Of course not. In fact they're completely against it.

With Epic expressing that a Gears game starring a female would never sell, and the developer of Remember Me describing their trials and tribulations with publishers demanding the protagonist of their game be a male, it seems like the game industry doesn't actually want games that appeal to women. They want manly masculine games for men, because girls don't buy games.

But then they yell at people who make what they consider manly masculine games for not trying to appeal more to girls?

The industry is in an inclusive conundrum right now where it knows that it needs to make games for women, but no one wants to take the first step and actually do it.

In the West, anyway.

Japan is Better

The country responsible for the jiggling woman that has burned a fire of controversy is actually the country doing inclusion right. They make dating sims, dress-up games, RPGs, and plenty more solely crafted for a female audience. Not to mention Capcom was the only publisher willing to pick up Remember Me. They actually have a system in place where boys and girls can play with their Barbies and GI Joes, big breasts and no, together in harmony.

The Western gaming industry makes a lot of fuss about the Japanese industry, where they are and how they have to catch up to where we are, but this is a case of not recognizing when something is actually ahead of its time. They're in the future we're too afraid to reach. They should be the model, not the issue.

We're also yelling at a completely different culture to be more like us, so that's a problem, too.

So, What Do We Do?

If the gaming industry wants to be more inclusive to women, then it needs to be more inclusive. They need to make games with strong female leads, make the games they think girl gamers want. But they can't try to force games featuring sexualized females out the door. It's not only the opposite of inclusion, but it's also impossible. Everyone has different fantasies; there's no way to know who wants what. They just need to make a little bit of everything.

Games for Western girls are coming, and they will come soon--

As soon as the industry has the balls (or breasts) to be more like the country they point fingers at and say is so far behind them.

Bird Boy (Bioshock: Infinite Contest Entry)

My mother used to sing a song: 


Some men go to Heaven--While others find the ground--The world ain't no place for livin'--Unless you're in the clouds. Some men say they're crazy--While others say they're gods--We all work the earth, now--Wrestling against the odds...


She had a lovely voice.


Water beats against the black spikes jutting under the cliff. The sky paints in dark blue streaks, dotted with glittering stars. Dad says the night sky is a ball gown that only Mother Nature gets to wear. His hand clasps my shoulder.


"I don't want you thinking what she thought," he tells me. He points a finger to where a dark mass slowly glides over the moon. "Now, you watch. Are you watchin'?"


I nod.


A black spear drops from the mass. It plummets and bursts into the waves. And another falls. And another. They dive like dead birds and pound the water, too far off to swim out or for them to wash in.


"Hats, coats," Dad says, leaning to my ear. "We'll collect them off the shore in the mornin'." He shakes my shoulders. "You listenin' to me? What you see out there, boy, they ain't no fallen angels."


Some men die for their wives--While others die for themselves--A man who dies for nothin'--Will surely burn in Hell. Life is the risk--A man is willing to take--If he lives for nothin'--he will mourn the mistake...


We live under Columbia, the Living Heaven, the City of the Stars. "We breathe the fumes of their freedom," Mom used to say. She would look to the sky every chance she got. She would even stare out to Columbia from under our roof. She could sit there for an hour, fingers stopping any work they were doing, eyes locked to our ceiling beams. I'd ask her what she was thinking, and she'd say, "Oh, I was just in a better place."


She was there when Columbia took off, when men became gods. She said that she tired to climb over the dirty and downtrodden, fools who didn't deserve the chance to watch the city disappear into the clouds. She fell to the ground, pushed over by a swatch of reaching arms and pounding feet, stampeding toward the haven screaming, "Take me! Take me away!" They trampled her body that her kneecap pointed to the left, and her shoulder popped out of place. She only ever walked with a cane after that day. I never knew her to walk straight, and yet I've never seen her as anything other than upright.


At night, when she used to get me ready for bed, she would show me an old torn ticket and say, "I was supposed to go up there. We're supposed to be in the stars right now. For longer than just how long we can dream." Then, she'd slide the ticket under my pillow, kiss my head, and whisper, "Maybe they'll still come down and fly you away."


She'd call me her little Bird Boy, and to put me to sleep she'd sing:


Every night when the moon--Is taken from the sky--A black bird will take flight--With light from its eyes. It comes for a boy--Who does what he's told--It'll take him in its wings--If he's very bold. The boy will close his eyes--And he will find rest--And he'll wake in Columbia--In the black bird's nest...


She crafted me a bird suit from raven feathers. It took her months to put together, working her fingers all day. I would ask her if it was done, and she'd say, "If you want to look like a bird, then it's ready. But if you want to be a bird, then you need to wait." 


I waited.


She finished it the night the town took her away. She woke me up. Muffled bangs rose from our front door. "Ignore that," she said. "It's nothin'. Look." Then, she lifted a bird-faced helmet to my eyes. It was splendid. Leather underneath black feathers, goggles for eyes, and a painted beak carved from wood.


"Go on. Put it on," she said. "Put it all on. Hurry."


My arms slid into wooden tubes running with frames for the feathers. My legs slid into other tubes laced with feathers. From leather shoes, three yellow prongs of wood stuck out for talons. My claws were real and large. "From a bear," she said. Mom helped me button the suit up my chest. It hung in an array of black with a tuft of a tail hanging from the back of the lapel.


"Do you like it?" she asked me.


I looked over myself and nodded. I grinned. I loved it.


"Great." She blinked, and her cheeks got wet. "You're my little Bird Boy, now."


More bangs pounded at the door with yelling behind it. Mom shuddered; her hands shook. "Now-now, you take that off, and you hide it under your bed, you hear?" She wrapped her arms around me, and pulled her little Bird Boy against her chest. "You hide that from your dad. Only take it out when you're ready to fly away, okay?"


I nodded, and she walked backwards, cane rattling against the floor, toward my door. Her fingers clung around the edge of its frame. "Now, you go to sleep, my little Bird Boy. Go to sleep. Go to sleep." She pulled my door shut, and I stood staring at the wall.


I heard the front door burst open to shouting. Mom screamed. Furniture moved, fell over, shattered. I heard my mom gag. "Get her out of here! Go! Go!" they yelled. I trembled, worried they would walk up the stairs, that they would take me. But no one did. Soon the yelling drifted up the road, and our house gave to silence.


I blinked the tears from my eyes and looked up the ceiling. I thought of a better place.


They wrapped a rope around my mom's neck, dragged her to the town square, and threw rocks at her face until she died. Just for singing her song.


My eyes stare open wide--while my mouth prays for the sky--There are men who hate a free voice--And say that it should die. We need to rise above--While the nation crumbles down--We need to find the bird--That can free us from this town...


On a night as late and cold as the one where my mom died, a gunshot rips me from my dreams. "Oh! Oh, god! Oh, god, no!" I can hear. "You can't do this!" Dad hollers. Another gunshot blasts, ringing in the house.


I stand from my bed, listen. No more sounds are made. From under my bed, I slide a dusty trunk. My fingers twitch over its latches. They flip up, and I throw the lid open. I reach inside, dig out my wings and beak. I button my feathers over my skin.


It's time this Bird Boy flies.


Downstairs, Dad's hand lies open just in view from the staircase. Blood speckles his palm. Each step down creaks. I keep my eyes staring ahead. I don't want to see him. His body lies in front of the doorway out of the house. I hold a shaking breath in my throat.


I look to the ceiling. I look to a better place.


I walk forward over each creaking floorboard. I stumble when my talon knocks against Dad's stomach, but I keep my eyes up. I swallow a lump and step over him. I walk until I see the stars. I breathe the night air.


Just outside our house a man stands, clutching a smoking revolver. He looks over his shoulder at me. His lips tremble. "Gambling debts, you know, I could forgive," he blubbers. I continue to walk. "But my wife--a man's wife! Your old man, he brought it on himself." I march passed him and continue to the cliff. He calls after me, "He did it to himself! This ain't my fault! This ain't my fault!"


The water beats against black spikes of rocks jutting under the cliff. My eyes stay to the sky, looking over the jewels on Mother Nature's gown. It sparkles beautifully, except it's missing its crowning jewel. The moon is gone.


I flap my wings and I stare at where the moon should be. My talons tear the grass to dirt. I bend my body. I run, and I jump. I continue to flap in the free air. Your little Bird Boy is coming. My wings out to the sides, I feel them catch the air, and I glide over the water. I lower slowly toward the waves. I close my eyes, expecting to feel a cold death.


Light flashes. Something sweeps around me. It hits me that my wings push against my sides. The black form cradles me, and I feel it soaring. I look down, and I can barely see the water, now. We fly through a thin grey of clouds. I look up, and I see it. I grin.


Columbia floats in the night sky. Large cogs turn on its sides; smoke blasts from stacks on its top and bottom. There are more platforms than I can count as we soar over them. They're all dotted with houses and buildings. I can see little people. I've made it, Mom. The black bird took me to Heaven.


Still high up, its wing unfurls from my body. I lose my breath. I drop. I flap my wings, but they won't catch the air. I close my eyes.


A pile of stiff cloth catches me. I bump and twist my body, sinking into it. A face peers in the dark from the mounds of cloth. I look to it and shudder stiff. It's pure pale under the stars, mouth and eyes open. I yell, try to pull myself free, but the pile of bodies only sucks me deeper the more I fight. My wings won't allow my fingers to grab an arm or leg to pull free. My talons sink into bodies, only holding me to the pile.


I yell, flap, panicked.


Hands grip my shoulders. "Now, what do we have here?" The hands lift me from the corpses. They turn me over solid ground, showing me to a bald and fat man in overalls.


"What the Hell is he?" the fat on asks. He leans in to get a better look at me. "A-a bird? A black bird--" Then, his eyes move up to the man holding me. They shake, wide and frightened. "You don't think?" he asks.


"I don't wanna find out," the man says. "What do we do?"


The big man swallows a lump, scratches the back of his neck. "I guess what we're doing anyway," he mutters. "Toss him."


The arms holding me sweep outward, over the water. I feel the cold air against my face. The wind cuts around me. I plummet like a dead bird.


I've been rejected from Heaven.


A man can never be free--Until he leaves this place--How can our god love him--If there's dirt on his face? We are all oppressed--Our legs shackled to the earth--How can we reach Heaven--if we're damned from birth?


I drop like a speck of glitter from a gown. Through my goggles, my eyes watch the clouds part to the beating waves of the ocean. The wind pins my arms to my side. My feathers break from their frame, dancing in the sky. I watch my wings fall apart, and for a second--


I feel like a fallen angel.

Backwards Compatibility = Backwards Thinking

When Sony released the CD player, no one asked if it could play vinyl records. When Sony released the Blueray player, no one asked if it would play Betamax. Why is the PS4 any different?

Thanks, Sony for this new machine; can it be my old machine, too? This isn't exactly the forward thinking a new generation should bring to mind. The PS4 is a new machine; it needs to move passed what the old machines do. Your old Monkey Island disk won't run on Windows 8--without some sort of outside workaround of course--because technology changes for new systems. Sony announced there will be no backwards compatiblity or Dual Shock 3 support on their new console, and this is all right by me.

The architecture for the PS3 was a terrible hurtle for most developers to overcome when programming for the console, which is partially to blame for its slow start. Continuing that into the next generation would have been a nightmare. Given all the developers working with the PS4's architecture right out of the gate, Sony has clearly learned from its mistakes. Why would they want to continue to carry their mistakes with them?

Is this the PS4 you want?

Backwards compatiblity creates extra bulk inside a console at a higher price just to play your old games. Imagine what a Wii U would look like with ports for NES, SNES, and N64 cartridges, along with a port for those tiny Game Cube disks. Newer, slimmer, cheaper models of consoles have all but phased out backwards compatibility. Consoles are getting more expensive and tacking the still-pretty-expensive older model's hardware onto the new one's doesn't make any sense at this stage. It's like when DVD players first arrived on store shelves; buying one machine to play both DVDs and VHSs cost not only your arms and legs but your head and shoulders, as well.

A clean slate is a good thing. As far as hardware is concerned, Sony needed something completely new to grip gamers' attention and bring interest to the next console generation, and they've done it. Maybe with streaming and emulation software, a year or two down the road, the PS4 will be able to support the classics people loved and never knew they loved.

But until then, you can still play PS3 games on your PS3.

P.S: I obviously don't know everything about everything, so feel free to disagree ;)

The Dreadful Truth of God of War Ascension

NOTE: I'm writing this from the toilet right now, because this made me so mad feces ejected from my body at record speed, and now I'm incapable of removing myself from the can. Pull your pants down and get yourself ready for this one.

God of War: Ascension is a game that's, to the best of my knowledge, not available yet. I wouldn't know, however, because I'm pissed off at this game for being so stupid and awful and awfully stupid that I feel stupid just thinking about how awful it is. Somewhere out there, there's a boy who was going to grow up to be president now stricken with an incurable case of mental retardation, because he learned about this game. You may have thought this game was going to be good, but Sony has thrown a glossy veneer of Kratos-spunk over fanboy's eyes, and they can't see the truth. But that's why you have me. Come. Take the blue pill, and we'll fill this rabbit's hole together.

Kratos has always been the whitest man in gaming. Now, that's not a statement of his character or ability to do math or drive or hold down a job. It refers to the ashes of his family covering his body like so much cocaine at a Kennedy slumber party (Family Guy taught me that out-dated references are the funniest by far, by the way). Sony is running away from all that, now. They've found that his bad-ass attitude and ability to "rip b*tches apart" have given him a great deal of sway with the African American population. Sony has now moved to change Kratos's appearance to feature an afro and sunglasses, and a pimp cane will stand as a secondary weapon. His voice is also undergoing a change: Samuel L Jackson and Denzel Washington's voices will be synthesized together to recreate the God of War's (because that's what he is, right?) iconic grumble. Sony won't be turning back, either, after finding that he has tested well with the "ghetto population"--Sony's words, not mine--after they saw him face off in a rap battle against Anubis. Apparently, mothers get dissed, but I wasn't allowed to see because of the milky complexion of my skin.


Sony's a bunch of racists, if you ask me--which you did, because you're reading this.

On top of this, those sexual mini-games that played as bits of sensual discovery in past installments have been pushed to the forefront of the newest title. David Jaffe has been inspired by Japanese dating simulators and decided to shove a complete one right in the middle of the game. At a point where Kratos enters a Greek brothel, he must choose between three seductive babes to bang. He has one week to learn their likes, dislikes, ages, eye-colors, and breast sizes so he can swoon them on several extravagant dates. One of which will be in Hades, where you can amuse your prospective lover by climbing your way out over and over and over again. Jaffe says this part of the game--about three hours in length--will allow you to see a softer side of Kratos, "right before he starts banging the b*tch, anyway."


And also that much fawned-over hacky-slashy multiplayer mode will not get lost in Sony's move to thrash everything gamers have loved about the franchise--sex mini-games, mostly--by adding microtransactions. That's right; you heard me. Please insert your earwig, now. For a one-time price, per online match, of 2.95USDA Certified Grade-A Beef gamers will be able to buy a randomized gun. These will range anywhere from pistols to rocket launchers, but Sony assures gamers that the game is balanced and stated that, "if gamers find anything to the contrary, they can just pony up the cash and join the fray, the bunch of whiny pigs." Once again, Sony's words, not mine, folks.


It's sad to see God of War tumble into such an abyss of mediocrity, while every other game on Earth will surely be better. With the shortage of other games in which you kill things available on the market, though, this truly marks a dark day in gaming history.

P.S: I finally finished my bowel movement, but now I'm afraid to flush...

The Awful Truth of Fire Emblem: Awakening

NOTE: I apologize for any mistakes in my text while writing this. It's hard for me to see if I've misspelled a word when I'm seeing so much red right now.

Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, Yakuza: Dead Souls, and now Fire Emblem: Awakening. How long can this go on?

Now I won't lie to you--note that none of this blog has a single lie in it; you're welcome--but I have not played Fire Emblem: Awakening. And since I haven't played this game, that means there must be something wrong with it. And that something is zombies.


Yes, Nintendo has finally jumped into the Straight of Japan or whatever the hell they have around there, if they have water at all. They have joined the ranks of Capcom and every other Japanese publisher on Earth, including the ones outside of Japan, in fisting an American flag right up their newest release's B-hole.

Our game all about perma-death now runs rampant with the un-prema-dead. Fire Emblem: Awakening is the first game in the storied franchise to be developed outside of Japan by Waffle Fries and Beer Studios, best known for their Android App game Pull my Finger and I'll Sh*t Myself. This is to be the first part of an epic money-grabbing trilogy following these characters whose names I don't know, because I haven't played the game and they're probably some eighteen-syllable garbled mess in that made-up Asian language, through their journey to fight the undead.

The game has two horrible modes: CIit, where when your troops die they come back as un-re-kill-able zombies who clear the entire map for you for the rest of the game, and Wrist-Cutter, where if one of your best units dies he'll come back as a zombie against your team and kill everyone; this mode also features a Quick Save Only feature that deletes itself if you lose, so you have to start the game all over again every time.


On top of all this, you're fighting with guns. That's right, the rampant Westernificationization (which is a word because I wrote it with my fingers) has pushed the series into the world of Modern Warfare. The worst part is that they haven't even changed the time period of the game for any of these additions, so you're following all the what's-their-names through these castles strapping machine guns and shooting zombies through the 4-hour campaign--but don't worry Nintendo has a lengthy DLC plan for the game that you can get in on for a one-time-only price of the intestines of your mother shipped via UPS--and the kicker is YOU HAVE TO PAY THE SHIPPING!


So, it's sad to see a series that has been around since Super Smash Bros: Mele come to such a terrible end. Nintendo took a fantastic SJRPGNSFW franchise from the soaring heights of extreme pleasure and pain down to something totally "brain-dead."

P.S: That above is a pun that I wrote, because I'm a really good writer of words and stuff.

I guess I'm a pr*ck for being born in the Nineties

So, the way the media likes to treat the Electronic Generation has always been unkind. First we were too connected, too sexual, growing up too fast; then we were lazy and violent with nothing but television and video games; then we were all fat and unmotivated; now, we're all selfish, entitled pricks.

We're an entire generation born and bred to do nothing.

Fox News recently ran a report where their blonde guy--who I'm sure is paid to smirk and act incredulous--is talking to a professor of economics. This professor gave his students a prompt to write what they thought the American Dream was and what government support they thought they deserved for that. This is a handful of one professor's ****s in onecollegein America--a little over 150 students all together. Not really much of a sample. Enough to get on the news, though.

So, then they delve into what these students had written. They wrote that they wanted the government to handle everything from getting them houses to money to jobs with no strings attached, and that the rich should pay for it. Then, of course, Fox News did it's pandering-to-the-rich song and dance, the anchor smirking all the while.

This is how we're portrayed--this is who we are.

Now, do we feel entitled? That's the question, here. Do we really believe that we deserve to have everything handed on a silver platter to us? Of course not. I don't, and I don't know anyone who does. I'm sure that out of all the people I've ever met who don't, I can offset the professor's minimal data. Anyone who would reasonably feel that they deserve that much of a perfect life withoutwarrant aren't thinking clearly and anyone could see that. But do we as a generation feel entitled to more than we're going to get? To that, I'd say yes--absolutely.

You see, it's unfair for our generation to be spat on for wanting more than we're going to get. We didn't have theprivilegeof being adults in the Nineties. We didn't grow up dreaming of better times and then have those times happen. No, we grew up during those better times dreaming that things wouldn't change, and now the bubble's popped and we're left with the puddle it's left behind.

We grew up in a time when there wasopportunity, and now thoseopportunitiesare gone just when we're finally prepared to seize them. We'redisillusionedand reaching for whatever we can to push against the reality of our ever-weakening future.

Yes, we feel we're entitled to more than our fair share, but when we were growing up planning our futures we were promised quite a bit more than what we're getting.

We're not really getting better

The American Dream is, in itself, a form of betterment. We want to rise up, take claim, be the best and more. We want to pull thereignsand blaze forward. We want to have status symbols and be status symbols. Everyone wants more than they have. That's the way it is.

But why is that the way it is?

I started running with my roommate recently, because I'm restless and weightconscious, and I figured this would help at least one of those issues. Running, I can see myself--future Kyle--standing out there looking good and suave, being successful all the time, justbecausehe's me. It's vague, but it's good. I know it's what I want.

This isn't why I run, though, just because my imagination tells me to. I don't want to run. It makes me sore. It makes me tired--and I still don't sleep well. I worry more about what I eat, because I don't want to undo any of this work. I don't enjoy eating. So then, why am I still running?

Well, it's YOUR fault.

It's my fault, too. It's our fault. It all falls to the great "We." We care and we judge. We chose what is success, what is good and how to measure that. We, us, the group, the collective, society, We're the arbiters of what the American Dream is, even if it's a perversion of what actually makes people happy. It's all just projection.

I'm starting to fall under the impression that the people who just don't care are the ones doing it right. They're eating and sleeping and gaining weight and do they care? Hell, no, they don't care. They're loving it. We hear people say that they can't lose weight because they "just love food too much" and We scoff, but why? That's a huge thing for a person to spend his life doing what he wants, and these people want to eat. And why shouldn't they?

They already think they're perfect.

I don't think I'm perfect. I think my teeth are going to fall out. I think my stomach's going to extend. I'm twenty-years-old and I try to never slouch, because I'm still worried about getting scoliosis. I can't be perfect if these things happen. I know this, because We know this. And I have to be perfect. I have to be that kind of perfect, that American Dream perfection. It doesn't matter if I'm in pain, and that it would be more fun just to slide into a slow oblivion. That would be the wrong thing to do, right? Right.

We've been sucked into this one uniform idea of success, health and long life, and it's all hard work all the time to achieve this. It isn't getting better. Life is just getting worse with every step in the right direction that We make. The thick and slovenly are off doing as they please, while We're spending our time running in circles praying that We don't end up as big and happy as they are.

And We're not really getting better.

Why Open-World Racers Don't Work

So, Criterion just announced their new project: a next generation open-world racer, and I can't understnad why. Nothing is gained from adding an open world to a racing game. You don't really explore the world outside of driving around it, which is what you already do in racing games.

Look at what you get from other open-world games. You break the pace of the main game with mini-games, side-objectives, hidden items and driving around the world. Everything in the world is used to break the pace of the main game. What did we get in the first Burnout Paradise? We got a place to get repaired, a place to get gas and a place to buy cars. Two of these aren't even good ideas in racing games outside of Nascar and the third isn't any reason to create an open-world. All these are, are glorified hub-worlds. Everything extra that they accomplish could be easily done in a menu.

The problem with open-world racers is that by creating an open-world, the racing experience is diminished. Like in Paradise, you're left to check out a mini-map and road signs to see if you're going in the right direction, which is fine in any other open-world game, but not when you're driving over a hundred miles an hour making desperatey sure to not to crash while other cars are driving the same speed against you and know exactly where they're going. It makes it much too easy to take a turn too early and find yourself lost and behind. And the tracks created in these games will never be as well put together as ones that were handcrafted for a linear racing game, because they have to conform to the rest of the world's maping. It's no more interesting to mold your own path in an open-world racer, because it's no different than discovering a short-cut in a linear racer. At the end of the day, there's always going to be one path that's the fastest. The only difference in an open-world racer is that you have so many more wrong paths you can take, which never makes for much fun.

I'm glad that not too many racers are going this route. There's just no need for it. Well, that's my opinion at least :)

Got All the Achievements in Shadows of the Damned!

I just finished my third playthrough of Shadows of the Damned (This time on Easy :P) and I was able to rake in the last few achievements I needed. I got all the upgrades (I still had eleven red gems left when I finished the game) and also, of course, beat the game on Easy.

The one that was a b**** that I thought I wasn't going to get was killing five demons with the Hot Boner. There just weren't nearly enough demons being thrown at me to do it, and the Hot Boner is a pretty buggy weapon (sometimes a lowest level demon can be standing right on top of it and not die when it explodes). I thought that maybe I'd be able to get it on Satanic Hell difficulty, but not there.

It was in Flemming's Castle, at the maze, that I got it. It was also the first time that I saw the cutscene with all the flowers. There was a back room there, a tiny one, and exactly five demons jumped down around me. I fired two Hot Boners, got them, and the rest is history :D

This might only be a big deal to me, but the only other game I have all the achievements for is Death Spank, so I was pretty excited when I was able to add another game to that desolate pane on my Dashboard. I still have to beat Satanic Hell mode, though, before I can put Shadows of the Damned away for good.

So anyway, if you did read through this, you might as well post some of the games you got or are working to get all the achievements in, or just say whatever else you'd like. Thanks!

Netflix Instant Classics: Noriko's Dinner Table

So I'm going to try something new here. I watch a lot of instant movies on Netflix and it leads me to watch some strange and unheard of films that I would have never seen under any other circumstances. And I figured why not share these great movies that you can watch with the press of a button with the world? (If you have a good reason why I shouldn't just leave it in the comments ;))

Noriko's Dinner Table

This is apparently a follow-up to a film titled "Suicide Club," which I haven't seen and it isn't avalable instantly, so it won't find its way into this blog series. Anway, you don't need to watch "Suicide Club" to appreciate the brilliance of this particular film.

I will refrain from using names, because I don't feel like jumping around IMDB and the like to find them and they're too Asian for me to remember off-hand, so I appologize for any confusion in my wording in advance. I'll try my hardest to keep this as intellegable as possible.

The story of the film is broken into four chapters, each one following a different character, though not in the sort of way where you're seeing the same story again and again from different angles. The story continues to move forward, despite the changes in narrorator. It works extremely well and allows back-story for the leads of the tail to flow easily into the narrative.

So anyway, on to the plot. Noriko is the main character. I'm using her name because I know it. She feels bored at home in a small town outside Tokyo and wishes to get away, to find something different and, through a social networking site, she finds a friend in Tokyo and runs away to meet her.

Noriko falls into a sordid world acting as a for-hire-famly-member for desperate people, being led by her online friend. I don't really want to give much of the plot away. It's a winding masterpiece, and I feel any information is too much. But, sufice to say, the way the story treats the idea of role and what a person's place is and how so few of us know or really find it is done so well and is extremely well realized in this work.

The movie is, at it's core, a horror film and ultra-violence is splashed here and there, from the blood spatter of a line of school girls jumping in front of a subway train, to a desperate father cutting down anyone in his way to get his daughter back. It's done well and helps keep the pace of this two-and-a-half hour and thirty-nine minute film. Every second is well worth watching, though, and the way the girls are drawn into the life of a for-hire-family unfolds and how they'd do anything to play the role they need to play and can't even understand who they are anymore is thrilling and fully entertaining.

Anyway, to wrap this all up, it's a great movie. It's Asian and long, so you have to want to read. It's deeply thematic and can get very bloody at times. I should also note that there is--especially in the beginning--some real melodrama here, so, if that instantly makes you cringe, you might want to stay away.

So, that's it! That wasn't so painful :D

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