The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Archive for the ‘NERDS!’ Category

Posted by Matt on July 31, 2011

Hey, that gender diversity in comics topic is still pretty hot right now, isn’t it? Better hop on the train while the hoppin’s good.

In short, hiring writers and artists of diverse gender, race, sexuality, and background is not simply that old affirmative action canard. It’s a about getting a wide variety of styles into the mix that could then appeal to a wide variety of people. Plus, it opens up the hiring prospects quite a bit, so not only are you not just getting white guys to make everything, but you’re also not getting THE SAME white guys to make everything. This isn’t some draconian feel-good rainbow concept; this is intelligent business for anyone in a creative industry, one that doesn’t plan on stagnating any time soon.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like that includes the biggest names in the comics industry right now.

Of course, I also buy into the counterargument that while there are quite a few female talents in comics (and there really are), there might not be as many female talents in comics who want to play in some big corporation’s multimillion dollar sandbox, where there every idea will be absorbed and exploited for profit by others, with the only credit they get being a ‘Created by’ sidebar on Wikipedia. It’s not like creator’s rights at the big comics companies hasn’t been in the news lately. Same goes for the black creators, or the gay creators, and all the others. So there’s that to consider, as well.

It’s one of those things in comics. A lot of people, myself included, would like to see Marvel and DC improve their publishing outfit, and that includes hiring more and better talent. However, we also have to recognize that the work-for-hire scenario they offer is pretty rotten, so unless someone is either (a) absolutely in love with Marvel/DC’s universes and characters and doesn’t care about the downside of working for them, (b) like Warren Ellis and Joe Casey, who take on books for mainstream publishers solely as a self-imposed creative challenge, or (c) really like money (but not a substantial amount of money, albeit probably more than the average independent will get on their own), why should we expect said people to WANT to work for them? There’s a hell of a lot more avenues to get your work out there now, so really, why bother? It’s not like being a Spider-Man writer or artist or inker or colorist will be much of an status upgrade; it’s going from a niche to a slightly larger niche.

****

On a related note, here’s another observation culled from an addiction to trolling comment sections.

One of the frequent wrong ideas perpetrated by the masses in the world of fanservice-based fighting games (yes, I’ve seen it used for every. single. one.) is to lay the blame for the lack of diversity in gender/race (not sexual orientation, though. Gamers aren’t demanding proper homosexual representation. What a shock) on the developers of the game. Basically, if the game doesn’t meet some arbitrary quota of female characters, it’s a sausage fest. I mean, it’s clearly just the individual commentators trying to find the game’s character picks guilty of some social injustice so they can justify their whining about whatever characters THEY wanted not getting in, but let’s address another reason why it doesn’t hold up.

You see, the people behind games like Marvel vs Capcom 3, or Super Smash Bros. or Street Fighter x Tekken, are limited in their material. They set out to make a game that uses previously established characters, and like all fighting game developers, try to make the cast as diverse gameplay-wise as possible. Basically, they want to make the game interesting and fun, but can only use other people’s creations. So, that’s what they do: out of those creations, they choose the bunch that would include the greatest variety of gameplay styles, factoring in aesthetics and fanbases as well. This means that, unless they think it fills a particularly important gameplay or aesthetic niche, they will not consider that character’s gender or race or whatever, because that becomes secondary or tertiary when you bring in gameplay and giving the greatest number of different fans what they want. They’re just trying to do what’s best for the game with the material they set out. As some other commentators in the same arenas point out, there is no point in adding a character to these games if it’s just because they’re female.

Besides, the anger is completely misaimed. You want to see more women or black people showing up in these games? Ask the people who make the games these games pull their material from to create more diverse sets of characters. The world would be so much better if more games had a greater variety of protagonists and antagonists, anyway. So not only do the fanservice games get a wider variety of characters to use, but the games themselves would be more interesting. Everybody wins!

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Disturbing Fetishes I Have Known

Posted by Matt on July 11, 2011

Now for something completely unwanted.

Now, I’m not one who thinks the waves of unsettling fetishes one can (too) easily find on the Internet only came about because of the Internet. No, they were almost certainly there since before the digital age. It’s just that people like you or me, who had no idea one could be turned on by such and such, are more likely to find out about them. Learning way too much about them, even. I’m sure most people innocently watching stuff on Youtube have had a moment where they see a video on the ‘Recommended’ list with an unusually descriptive title, click it, and find themselves through the looking glass. It’s far worse for anyone who dares peruse any of the many open art sites like DeviantArt.

I think it would interesting to look up an actual psychology paper on these sorts of things and how they come about, which must exist somewhere, but am too afraid to look it up myself. But for those of who have been lucky enough to avoid finding out about some of these things, sticking to your basic websites and getting in and out of your Google Image Searches quickly, here are some of the odd ones I’ve stumbled upon. I’d love to learn where some of these things come from, but for now, the knowledge that they exist is enough. More than enough.

Hypnotism

On one hand, probably the tamest of the lot with it’s light BDSM traits, but in other ways, very very disturbing indeed. Let’s face it: someone with a hypnosis fetish craves domination, or to be dominated themselves. All the methods seen in the media are featured on the sites, and special attention to paid to the face of the ‘victim’. Some like them to stare blankly (an additional love of vegetables?), some enjoy the ‘victims’ being all smiles. Drooling might be considered a bonus. A subset of this is mind control, which only furthers that rather unsettling feeling.

Quicksand

Now we’re getting more into the Internet era of fetishes, which includes categorizing random scenes from movies, television shows, and drawings of all sorts. Like hypnotism, there are a fantasy bondage aspect to the quicksand fetish, what with the focus on struggling, helpless women and all. Of course, being a groan-worthy staple of children’s adventure stories for so many years, it’s no wonder it’s ended up being an obsession (a real obsession. Just read the quotes from this) for the many now scouring the Internet. Also like the hypno fetishists, there are subcategories. Some, for example, just like the idea of people covered in sticky sludge, which would include things beyond quicksand.
Quicksand and other bondage scenarios involving women even have a ‘cute’ acronym among the fetish circles: DiD, or Damsels in Distress. Are they trying to hide behind it? I don’t know.
A related phenomenon that is far worse is a sort-of sister fetish centered around women being hurt in several different ways called ‘Ryona’ (I don’t know what the term actually means, and like hell am I diving even further into that cesspool). It’s really scary, and I’ve unfortunately stumbled on far too many Ryona videos on Youtube. Just a heads up: stay the fuck away.

Inflation

This one might be a tad more widespread because of the crossover with the furry community. Essentially, this is people who tug to the image of people/things being inflated like a balloon. ‘Muscle inflation’ is a popular term/category. I don’t really have much to say about this one, except “What. The. Fuck.”
There is also some crossover with the final fetish I’m going to talk about here.

Vore

That is, being turned on by the idea of being devoured. There are two main divides in the vore community: ‘soft’, which means essentially being swallowed whole and alive, and ‘hard’, which I assume means not being eaten whole and alive. I have successfully avoided the latter one so far. There’s really no limit to what can eat what in this world, it all works (which is why there’s a segment of the furry base revolving around this, as well). Some subcategories of the soft side include things called “Unbirthing”, “cockvore”…ugh, you get the picture. It’s not a good picture. (Ramble: I remember reading an early report on the PSP Kingdom Hearts game that called the new monsters in it ‘Unbirths’, and I said to myself: “Boy, they’re going to need to change that”).
Cartoon lions are a popular feature on the vore Youtube. Some people like to involve stomach acid in their fantasies. As for ‘why’, I’ve observed a few explanations from those who inflict this upon us all. Some people apparently like the idea that being inside someone will be all warm and comfortable. Some, probably the vore-inflation dual classes, like the image of someone with a cartoonishly inflated belly. There are certainly bondage aspects to soft vore, as well as domination fantasies. Personally, I find it all really, really gross.

Again, my main purpose in recalling these things, aside from creeping myself and everyone else out, is to wonder how things like this happen. The common thread between all these fetishes is that they often take root in childhood, based on something the participant witnessed in their choice of entertainment. The Internet really can’t be considered a true culprit in this matter: it’s an enabler, but it’s not a cause. I doubt many of these fetishists got their starts by just finding these sites. No, something has to be there before. So, what makes it so that something as (seemingly) random as this takes such a stranglehold (uh oh, that’s an unintentional allusion, oh boy) on their psyches? I’m sure most live completely normal lives in all other respects, but something happened there to make them become one of THESE THINGS. There must be an answer somewhere, but like I said, I’m sure as shit not going to go down that highway of madness.

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Who is the Worst Gamer Group of All?

Posted by Matt on July 3, 2011

FPS Gamers

Case For: Will yell “Faggot!” at you for fifteen minutes, speaks exclusively in incomprehensible jargon, will either be a rules stickler or a anything-to-win rules breaker, will spawncamp your ass all day

Case Against: Easily defeated by turning your headset off

Fighting Gamers

Case For: Highly elitist, conversations consist of jargon and unfunny in-jokes, obsessive-compulsive about things like controllers, not allowed to have fun, will probably make more money on the tournament circuit than you do actually contributing to society

Case Against: Those Justin Wong combo videos are pretty awesome

JRPG Gamers

Case For: Pretend to be sophisticated despite being functionally illiterate, refuse to play games that are less than 100 hours (where 40 of those hours are spent wandering around, and 50 are spent doing the same thing over and over again), would never pick up a real book in their life, very likely to be an otaku

Case Against: Those 100 hour single-player games means they have very little time to interact with others (and when they do, it’s at cons, which are very easy to avoid)

MMO Gamers

Case For: Addicted to clicking the same buttons over and over again, will spend real money in exchange for game money, make the worst stereotypes of gamers as passive blobs a reality, members of their guilds are probably the closest thing they have to friends, smell bad

Case Against: Same as RPG gamers, except that they don’t even really have cons. Are essentially recluses.

Sonic the Hedgehog Fans

Case For: Either gross furries or colossal man-babies, refuse to recognize that the Genesis games weren’t perfect either, are probably angered that most of the modern games are aimed at (gasp!) children, keep paying attention to the series they apparently love/hate instead of moving on, think the ‘serious’ cartoons/comics should be the model for the games, haven’t figured out that Sonic has always been a marketing-focused character

Case Against: Hm…I think we have a winner here.

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Posted by Matt on April 21, 2011

The new consoles are coming! The new consoles are coming!! Oh, joyous day! Isn’t it a great time to be a gamer?

I don’t think I can possibly understand why so many gamers are so obsessed with a new batch of consoles coming out as soon as possible. I have a pretty good idea why people were flipping out over the rumour of a new Nintendo console being announced at E3, with amazing HD graffix and the like: most gamers are still sore that Nintendo decided to target people other than them, and have tugging it to the idea of an HD Zelda since 2008, really. Maybe I’m just an uninformed armchair analyst, but I just can’t see a conservative company like Nintendo doing a complete 180 on their million-selling strategy, but who knows with them most of the time (another batch of rumours says the thing also has a gigantic touch screen controller, which is kind of neat, and more in line with they’ve been working on since the DS, but on the other hand, doesn’t make much sense financially). But that’s almost a separate issue at this point.

But what about the other two? To me, their output at this point is still capable of quite a bit. But then again, I’m not a developer having to work with them. On the other hand, neither are all of the people on the Internet I see clamoring for them. About the only people in the biz who seems to have hinted at wanting a new generation to come soon is, as far as I know, UbiSoft, and like fuck do I think they know what’s best for anyone. I have yet to hear any actual developers talk about how hard it is to develop games for the PS3 and 360 with all their limitations. I have yet to hear of any tantalizing game ideas we’re missing out on because, dammit, these boxes just don’t have the juice. Most of the people actually pushing these things to their limits are either doing it in a low-key setting (like downloadable games with, let’s say, less than HD quality graphics), or are doing it on the PC. Most console developers seem content to churn out essentially the same games over and over again, and something tells me the people behind Final Fantasy and God of War are having to scale back their creativity because of the lack of console horsepower.

For most gamers, I imagine, it’s just early adopter syndrome (EAS): they get bored with their technology fairly quickly, and always something biggerer and betterer. For me, the problem is…I don’t like to spend money. And I haven’t seen any evidence that we’re missing out on anything (if there are, though, I’d love to read about it!). But even if the latter is fulfilled, I can’t even say for sure I’d be excited about new consoles. Part of it is, as mentioned before, I hate spending money, especially on gadgetry with minimal utility (hell, even shit that I could find invaluable, like one of those portable devices with Internet hook-up and everything, I still would feel guilty about buying, because I’m fucking frugal). But as other things vie for my time (like maintaining this blog, for example!), games have to be finding more and more interesting hooks to keep me coming back. And you know what? High-tech audio/visual stuff just ain’t it for me. Or, at least, not on their own.

Consoles are a different business from the games they play, oddly enough. If they become more or less interchangeable, then what’s the point of there being more than one? Yet, they need to have similar structures and capabilities in order to keep the publishers interested in working on them, as Nintendo has learned. So in the end, most features on future consoles that aren’t simply upgrades to what the current crop already has will often have to err on the side of meaninglessness (multimedia stuff like Netflix and shit like Home), as not to alienate other publishers. There are some directions they could go that would allow for some interesting directions in the future: manufacturing the console for a greater emphasis on downloadable content (increasing the harddrive sizes for example), to the point where you can buy even full, retail games through their service. An even greater on getting as much bang for their buck out of what their console can do would be another good advance (Microsoft is already testing the waters there, apparently, by doing trials with game discs that have had extra space freed up through a console update), so we don’t ‘need’ to go back to the well so early. Certainly, consoles should become more adaptable in the future…you know, like computers.

None of those ideas are particularly revolutionary, though. I don’t know what kind of new console features would really make me go ‘Wow’ at this point. A lot of it, to my untrained ear, just sounds like technobabble, which I have no interest in. This is, of course, why I’m not on the boards who decide such things.

The next couple of years should be interesting.

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Posted by Matt on July 8, 2010

An article analyzing Armond White’s controversial Toy Story 3 review.

I’ve only had White’s reviews relayed to me by others, and from that I can tell that I have no interest in reading his reviews. He seems to be like Michael Medved, only instead of souring his reviews with hardcore religious moralizing, he sours them with mediocrity. He’s no worse than the millions of talentless unknowns who get hired to review movies for small markets.

Of course, the reason anyone ever talks about this at all is because White’s opinions on popular movies are usually the exact opposite of what everyone else’s is. This is not a new phenomenon; there always seems to be one reviewer who seems to be the odd man out that the Internet finds and posts repeatedly for no reason other than pointless outrage (I seem to remember the one goober who hated Pan’s Labyrinth was the Armond White of his time). This seems to be exasperated by Rotten Tomatoes, which not only shows all the different reviews and how they generally skew, but also uses them to rank a movie. And once you bring in numbers and rank, people turn stupid fast.

There did seem to be a contingent of people who were mad at White because his one negative review kept Toy Story 3 from getting a 100% positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, which they all thought it deserved for some reason. Of course, the overall ratings on the site are pointless guff, created using an arbitrary selection of ‘choice’ critics and never actually reflecting the movie’s quality, but just how many people liked it to some degree (does Up‘s 98% make it better than No Country For Old Men with its 95%? Of course not.). It can be good to get a general gist of where the critical sway is going, but the next step is to actually go into the page and look at the reviews. Most people skip that last step because, hey, the numbers say it all, don’t they? Like the box office armchair analysis, it turns film into an oversimplified numbers game, and that is a far greater blot on the face of the medium than some random hack’s differing stance.

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Posted by Matt on July 8, 2010

Hoo boy, what a way to come back to substantive posting.

Ebert’s little ‘Video games or Huck Finn‘ turned up some pretty ‘interesting’ results. Well, even a sarcastic ‘interesting’ overstates it, since the results were pretty obviously skewed so the voters could prove a point. What the point could be, aside from ‘easily manipulatable polls are easily manipulatable’, is a little lost on me. Even Ebert recognizes that an online poll is essentially worthless.

The main problem I see with his recent campaign is that seems to be, as James Urbaniak posted on Twitter (I refuse to call it ‘tweeting’), just comparing apples and oranges. The question of whether someone ‘valued’ any great video game over Huckleberry Finn just seems pointless. Value in what way? It also seems strange to use one specific novel, even if it’s one of the most influential American novels in history (and no, I haven’t read it. Maybe I will one of these days. Maybe. I’m not making any guarantees.)

Even so, if I were to have voted in the poll, I would vote for Finn. To use another one of Ebert’s scenarios, I too would sacrifice every game in existence for Shakespeare. Not that these exaggerated A-or-B questions are particularly insightful, but I still have a stand on these things. The thing is, as much as I have loved video games and continue to be an avid game enthusiast, I know their place in the canon of human thought.

I tried reading the comments, but within the first dozen I found myself pained by the pro-game arguments. I see the ‘you need to play them to realize they are art’ bit (Ebert already admitted that he shouldn’t comment on them without much play time, much to the delight of slow news day blogs everywhere), or the ‘well, GAME X is art’ (which, as has been established isn’t how it works; if one game is art, all games are art), or bringing pop culture into a discussion about art (the two are intertwined, but not the same thing). Worse, we get a bunch of people saying Huck Finn isn’t relevant to today’s youth or whatever, which is all kinds of fucked, whether they’re right or not. In any case, I see the same whining, the same illogic, and the same need for validation, even among people who seem generally more intelligent.

In short, video games are the worst.

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Posted by Matt on May 9, 2010

I’ll explain: the reason why I’m playing Pokemon again, aside from nostalgic residue, is because it plays perfectly into my OCD desire to customize characters and make a distinctly ‘me’ team in games. For this same reason, I also like SRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea, as well as Worms. The fact that’s it’s a simple fun RPG that can be played anywhere is a bonus.

I don’t understand this trend among a lot of online Pokemon fans or former fans who seem to think every monster made after the first games are shit. They’ll say things like “Oh, well the first 150 were more like actual animals. and the later ones are too weird!” (there are several answers to this question: (a)there’s a mix of more ‘down-to-earth’ designs and weirder ones in every game, and (b)who cares? Did you not notice the part where this a game of magic monster fighting for kids?), and it seems to be based more on nostalgia than any actual logic. I mean, what kind of standards do people have for cartoon creatures? For me, it goes like this: if I were ten years old, would I draw this?

Is every Pokemon design awesome? No, but when you’re creating 100+ new designs every few years, each one attempting to fill a specific niche, that happens.

As you can see, I discuss matters of utmost importance on this here site.

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Some have been freaking out about Marvel vs Capcom 3 since not long after it was announced. Capcom has made mention that they want the game to appeal to as broad a audience as possible. Since Street Fighter IV, ‘hardcore’ fighting players know what that means: they will not be the primary demographic the game is designed for! They will ‘dumb down’ the game and make it for casuals and scrubs!!!!! More importantly, it won’t be exactly the same as Marvel vs Capcom 2!!!!!!!!!!!

And now they have evidence: the game is going to use the 3-normal-attack layout (like Tatsunoko vs Capcom) instead of the 4-button of MvC2. Here’s the thing, though: that layout worked in TvC. In a more fantastic game like this, you don’t need to follow the Street Fighter standard 6-button layout, because you don’t need to have specific buttons for punches and kicks like those game do. Some people complained before TvC came out that it would be confusing not knowing which button is a punch and which button is a kick, but I think that’s more of a problem with preconceived notions than anything else. In any case, you have to figure out what the button does; even if you know it’s a punch or a kick, you still have to know what that punch or kick does. so what difference does it make if it’s not specifically either?

The other argument against this is that it limits the amount of moves that each character can have. That’s a possibility, but I doubt it’s really a significant hamper. For example, in TvC, Ryu’s moves are easy to figure out even without a Punch/Kick separation; and unless one thinks every character should have a dozen different special moves (which wouldn’t even be in-line with past MvC games), the system works out fine. Yes, the game will technically have fewer attacks than, say, Street Fighter IV, but so what? These games have never really been as ‘in-depth’ as the SF games, or at least not in the same regards. Don’t forget: this game also has lots of its own unique features (everything revolving around the assist system, snapbacks, aerial raves, stuff like that) to help provide a unique strategic experience, and they announced ALL those features being brought back alongside the new button layout. Losing an attack button really doesn’t hurt the possible depth of the game that much, from what I can see.

I had considered the possibility that they would use this control scheme; my only concern was it would use an odd number of buttons with the two assist buttons needed for a 3v3 game (in TvC, it worked out very well with only one assist, leading to 4 buttons). They solved this problem by adding the Exchange attacks, which actually sounds pretty interesting. Aside from providing one-button launchers (which is fine by me, I see no real difference between using a specific button and DF+HP for it) and other easier access combo-oriented attacks, it can also be used to counter other Exchange attack, depending on what they use. So, not only do they solve the even/odd layout issue, as well as make a certain important aspect of the game very slightly more doable, but they even added entirely new ideas in the process! I’ll be curious to see more about this new thing.

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Posted by Matt on May 6, 2010

Hey look, something interesting to read about superhero comics

E3 is in a month, and I’m sort of anticipating/dreading it. There will be some neat stuff there – Natal and 3DS being the major ones – but aside from my fanboy obsessions, there really hasn’t been much to be excited by in the industry lately. All I see are a sea of sequels, remakes, and rip-offs – and looking at message boards, this is what the people want. I really hope to see some cool new ideas in games in the coming months, something different to get me excited like Scribblenauts did last year. I’m sure somebody has something…I mean, we can’t have fallen into a creativity rut already. Hopefully?

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Posted by Matt on March 13, 2010

The Worst Words #3

Hype

I truly have a hard time believing in the concept of real ‘evil’. For the most part, I can only see it in the dilutions that are only viewed as evil by weaker minds. However, if there is one thing that I would consider truly an example of evil, it would be marketing. The evil of marketing is multi-faceted: it could only appear in a society that is economically, scientifically, and culturally advanced enough that excess is even possible, meaning that even our greatest human achievements can be easily tainted; it is inherently manipulative, as it based around convincing people to buy things of wildly varying value by any means necessary; it abuses science and art, two of the great facets of human civilization, in order to perform that manipulation; and in the end, it is a mindless entity which exists solely to make money, and everything else involved does not mean a damned thing to it: it could be selling the next great human advancement, it could be selling a worthless trinket, it could be selling genocide, but that doesn’t matter at all. It doesn’t care about anything other than maintaining the endless cycle that is its existence. It is far beyond the minds that created it at this point; the marketing ideals are now in control.

So yes, I don’t think much of marketing.What disturbs me along with that is that not only are people being manipulated by the marketing devices, many of them do so willingly.

As I said in a previous post, the Internet age has given people a vast knowledge base from which they can access at any time. The people of the Internet culture has accumulated an absurd amount of information about the things they are interested in. I doubt anyone decades ago could tell you as much about the inner workings of their favourite TV shows or movies as the fans could today. It’s not just that viewers are becoming more obsessive, it’s that it’s all there for them. People seem to have accepted this new freedom of information as an essential part of the culture. People scour the Internet for casting rumours and early script reviews. They know the industry, and they know (most) of the tricks used by the marketeers to make things appealing, whether they be entertainment or other kinds of products.

I remember being struck while studying media texts in a sociology class how close the concept of the ‘media-savvy’ was to my own experience. The definitions and problems posed by the text almost exactly described what I had observed during my years as part of various media discussions. The problem with the media-savvy is that, with all their knowledge, with all their capacity to gain discerning taste and reject some of the cruder elements of pop culture, they choose not to. They watch and they buy just as anyone else would; no matter how embarrassingly mediocre something like SNL gets, they’ll still pay attention to it, even if they complain about it the entire way. They still don’t think twice about what the commercial is trying to do, they will enjoy it nonetheless. This says something not only about how hypocritical and intellectually lazy western society can get, but also in the kind of power marketing has. Even when the Emperor is naked, the crowds will still praise his regal look.

I’d typify the type of person I think of above as the average reader of the pop culture blog (which includes stuff like The AV Club, although they are usually of more integrity than the rest of the media-savvy world). Another offshoot of this culture are the type who I see often on videogame message boards, the ones who not only accept marketing, but actively seeking to be marketed to. This is where ‘hype’ comes in. Hype is the artificial kind of anticipation that these types obtain, a short-lived high that, like a drug addiction, needs to be administered in increasing doses in order to maintain the same level of satisfaction. It is entirely unnecessary, of course. Surely a big game should hook you on what it has, and doesn’t need the regular bluster.

To see someone in a discussion go from ‘totally hype’ to ‘zero hype’ is a total non-event. The shift usually happens when there has been proper marketing for a lengthy period, and usually doesn’t mean a thing. Like a difficult child, they’ll say they are running away, and maybe they’ll even pack a bindle filled with crayons and cookies; but they are too reliant on the product to ever leave it. As soon as the producers drop another bombastically-presented slice of information, they’re back at the forefront, and the cycle begins anew. But no matter what mood they are in currently, it’s almost guaranteed they will buy. Even the most indignant fan, filled to the brim with entitlement, cares too much about their object of fandom to leave it alone.

Thus is the artificial nature of hype. The nerd culture, as one should have been able to determine if you’ve read any of my rants, thrives on seemingly being doted upon by their entertainment supplier of choice, although it is only an illusion. And as stupid as they may appear (and, for the most part, are), they are still media-savvy, maybe even more than most, so they bring this entirely upon themselves more often than not. Every time I see someone online talking about being ‘hype’, I cringe – it often seems to have replaced genuine excitement for something empty. Which is just one of the many byproducts of marketing.

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Posted by Matt on March 8, 2010

Now to finish the series.

Star Fox

It’s actually only been four years since the last Star Fox, but that one was on the DS and had stylus controls so everyone hated it. “We need another REAL Star Fox!” they will say. The last one closest to the older games came out 5 years ago, but it had on-foot missions, so they hated that too.
Essentially, what they want is a remake of the first two games (which is funny because 64 was essentially a remake of the first game) with Wiimote controls. But that doesn’t require a full disc-sized game (just like F-Zero), unless you want to make it pretty, which is what they also want. So Nintendo is pretty stuck when it comes to this series.
Not that I’m totally against it. Arcade shooters aren’t all that common today, with only a few (including, surprisingly, Nintendo themselves with Sin & Punishment 2) daring to do it. And the game isn’t a bad fit for Wiimote controls. With the Remote/Nunchuck set-up, you have the ability to give the crosshairs and ship movement more freedom, and hell, throw in shaking to do a barrel roll if you must. But of course, every fucking game on the planet could work with remote controls. There’s gotta be more to it to justify it.
How about online multiplayer? Maybe, but even a more robust system is more of an elaborate extra than a real innovation. Some might suggest making it more like Rogue Squadron, with mission-based levels and epic battles (isn’t that what Assault was? I don’t know, I didn’t play it)? That could work, although it seems to lose a bit of that arcade charm if it isn’t on-rails and just about shooting down as many Escherian spaceships as possible, although there’s nothing that would stop it from doing both.
This is a bit more difficult to think of, as there seems to be equal sway for both an advancement into more modern gameplay and retaining the classic simple gameplay system. And even then, is simply turning it mission-based a big enough leap to justify a completely new, big budget game? I don’t know.
Miyamoto has shown to secretly likes the franchise, and that the biggest hurdle the series faces is a lack of popularity in Japan, much like Metroid did. A swing towards more western markets could be good news for the series, and let’s not forget that the aforementioned S&P2 was made because the game was a pretty popular Virtual Console download all over the place, especially NA. So, while I don’t expect anything new for Star Fox anytime soon, it’s not totally impossible. And I can’t say for sure that there needs to be a whole lot of brainstorming done in order to make it worthy, although listening to the fans clamoring for regression may not be the best idea.
It’s an odd situation, this. Maybe even more odd than the situation for Pikmin.

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