The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Forum Hate’

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 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 10, 2010

Here I stand before you, Enemy of the Internet.

A few months back, I decided to rip off Weekend Web and other things I like to read on the Internet. To give it a local flavour, I decided to pick on my city’s (in)famous web portal.

This is the result of that.

They vary in quality. It took me a bit to start finding the really good stuff.

But anyway, the reason why this is important, aside from the fact that I finally got off my ass and posted those articles online, is that I’m also being noticed by the victim. The admin comparing it to eavesdropping on people’s conversations in a public space seems to be off-base, unless he doesn’t understand how the Internet works. It’s also different in that IT ISN’T FUCKING CREEPY.

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Posted by Matt on March 1, 2010

The Worst Words #2

Opinion

The Internet has given us many great things. It makes communication easier, it gives people the opportunity to share their talents to a wider audience they couldn’t possibly reach before, it gives us a wealth of information we can access with the push of a button. I’m sure there are many other benefits that I am overlooking, too.

On the other hand, it has helped raised a generation of isolated, self-absorbed children who are never forced to look at the world through any other perspective than their own. With all that information available, it is truly astonishing that most people would rather find places that reaffirm their own preconceived biases rather than actually use this great tool to learn. This is the great tragedy of the Internet.

And this is where opinion comes into play. Opinion, on the Internet, has become the great cop-out, a way for someone to be able to exempt themselves from an argument, especially if they are unable to actually argue a point. It also acts as a shield from criticism, whether it be of yourself or (in the case of most nerd sites) whatever it is you’ve become obligated to defend. “Well, that’s just your opinion” is the weasel phrase, a standard for anti-thought individuals.

It is a problem in the real world, too, where opinion and subjectivity is used by individuals and groups to validate or elevate their position, even if it is obviously wrong. The evolution ‘debate’ is one of the greatest examples of this, where anti-science organizations get to say they are ‘interpreting the evidence differently’, which is utter drivel, and anyone who looks at the facts would know that. But people still let them get away with being factually inaccurate (and, at times, compulsive liars and propagandists) because they, too, see the issue as being a thing of interpretations, rather than what it really is, which is a clear-cut case of reality being challenged by those who would rather live in a fantasy world.

Part of the problem is a postmodern one. Many people have begun to question the ‘truths’ of the world around them, and have been taught that perspective controls everything, and all ‘facts’ are interpretations. While this line of thinking can be beneficial, especially in the highly manipulative marketing-based environment we live in, it does NOT work in all situations. It does not work in the realm of science, which is based entirely around empirical evidence and testing that are as far removed from subjective spinning as possible (not that it is possible to be entirely objective, even in science, but that is no excuse to look at it as just another voice among countless others). And, while a tad more problematic, it has no place in the realm of criticism.

Most of us, being mindless consumers, have come to loathe the critic, whether it be the movie critic, the music critic, or even the political critic. They are associated with negativity, with having arcane tastes, with not agreeing with the majority (and boy, are the majority ever the best judges of anything). Besides, once we apply that postmodern perspective, than they just become another voice. What they have to say is no more important than what some random guy on a forum has to say. It’s all just opinion, right? The problem is…no, no it isn’t.

While there are many lousy critics out there (their numbers bolstered thanks to, get this, the Internet and its lack of editorial standards), to deny them any sort of authority is to be foolish. The average movie critic will see many more movies than you or I ever will; they will also have see a wider variety of movies, they will understand the history of cinema, they will have seen a thousand different examples of good and bad acting, good and bad plot, good and bad special effects (all of which are among things in movies that are NOT subject to much subjectivity; a non-existent story is a non-existent story, no matter who you talk to, and bad acting is bad acting, and so on). They are true film experts, and despite their connection to negativity, the good ones always love what they do, and love movies. Not only that, but the best of the best also know how to think about what their watching, even if it’s mindless entertainment, and then explain those thoughts in a clear manner.

We may not agree with them all the time (see, subjectivity isn’t completely dead, and knowing how to apply subjectivity when appropriate is a sign of real intelligence), but clearly their thoughts on something can be worth more than the average Joe. Just like the scientists who have studied a subject, whether it be evolution, or physics, or the climate, we can put priority on what they have to say, because clearly they know what their talking about. So despite us being told to distrust authority, that’s no reason to disregard experience and knowledge.

None of that matters on the Internet. It is a very modern, very democratic line of thinking that puts everyone on the same level, whether that be the scientist and the guy off the street, or the movie critic and the casual moviegoer. In this mindset, all opinions are equal, and all claims are opinions. The truth is a rare beast, and usually only encompasses ubiquitous, grade-school factoids, like the sky being blue, and turtles being reptiles, and what have you. All other things, animal, vegetable, or mineral, are up for interpretation. And you can’t tell them they’re wrong, because that wouldn’t be polite. Not that they would listen, anyway, not when they have had their opinion reinforced by dozens of other like-minded individuals and whatever phony ‘evidence’ they can pluck from the depths. The Internet has made it much easier to become enlightened, but it also has made it easier to delude yourself into thinking you are right about everything, and never have to confront conflicting views. The echo chamber effect that the World Wide Web provides can be catastrophic to the discourse, turning it into gangs of dittoheads yelling their thoughts at each other without having considered anything that is being said, because they don’t have to.

Clearly, this kind of thinking is wrong when it comes to the real world. The evolution/creationism, climate change, and war/peace narratives are just some examples where all thoughts are valued the same, despite many being backed by, you know, reality, that have a clear impact on the world. However, one could trace this kind of thinking back to the simpler things, the world of arts and entertainment. Since this world is considered one of trifles, no one really puts much thought into how subjectivity/objectivity plays into it, but Creation Museums and angry comments on IMDB all originate from the same irrational ideology, one that says you have every right to think the way you do, even in the face of the better-informed, the more accurate…you get the idea.

What makes the nerd world version of the opinion fallacy worse is that it usually based on less than nothing. A person will choose to disagree with someone about something they have not experienced firsthand. I have encountered numerous examples of forum-goers dismissing the early negative reviews of a game they are looking forward to, merely because they have decided that they will like the game beforehand. They can’t have this predetermined opinion be challenged, so they choose to ignore people who disagree with them. Even if their object of desire turns out to be no good, they will often force themselves to like it, although the opposite (being disappointed in something and then deciding it is THE WORST THING EVER) is also highly prevalent, albeit it seems that you can predict the latter reaction by whether that person has had a bipolar reaction to just about everything related to it.

As could be surmised from the David Jaffe post, I don’t think putting your faith in the masses is a particularly swell idea. Especially when that mass includes people who have make judgments before it even makes sense to. I’ve heard people on forums say things like “I’d take the opinions of people on here over reviewers”, and this is wrong-headed. Unless of course you want everyone to agree with you, in which case that would be the proper path to take. Anyone who is not stupid, however, will know it is wrong.

This mindset is also terrible for the growing communities of artists online. Places like DeviantArt and the like, less real venues for artists and more havens of shitty fan art, are filled with prima donnas who surround themselves with warm, fuzzy comments from their half-wit online friends, and hate being criticized for anything (you know, the kind of thing that Your Webcomic is Bad And You Should Feel Bad was tackling back in the day). This is the opposite attitude anyone who takes pride in their creative output should have. If you write, draw, or compose music, or all three, you have to take criticisms, even angry ones laced with ad hominem attacks, into consideration, because otherwise you will never improve as an artist. This is what the editorial process did back before there was an Internet, but now that editorial process has been shoved into the background, and once again people prefer to be surrounded by praise, and will dismiss anything else as ‘flaming’, ‘trolling’, or the dreaded ‘just an opinion’.

This may be one of my biggest beefs with the Internet culture, which I am very much a part of, as you could tell by how long this article has been. It works in with the previous theme of misuse of the term maturity – the ‘just an opinion’ attitude is another sign of a pure lack of maturity, unable to see any other view but your own, unable to admit when you’re wrong, and dismissive of those who challenge you. It kills any sort of intelligent conversation, it limits imagination and intellectual growth…it’s just an absolutely frustrating thing to have to deal with, and I don’t see it going away any time soon. Thus is the curse of the Internet.

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Posted by Matt on February 27, 2010

Dumb news stories Vol. C

David Jaffe ‘doesn’t connect with specialist press review scores’

This is problematic. It is more problematic when you read this line:

and prefers reading fan feedback online.

“I don’t like hearing from people who know what they’re talking about, I’d rather listen to masses of sycophant retards.”

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Hilarious ending to horrible-sounding movie revealed. It may rival ‘Will Smith commits suicide with jellyfish’ as the most ludicrous way to end a drama in recent memory. But, as much as I like this sort of thing, that is not the only reason I posted this link.

I know I don’t usually condone this, but read the comments. Swarmed with humourless twits who apparently are oblivious to the fact that if they didn’t have to read post, and that the guy was very clear about the subject of his post.

Of course, there’s also the chance that they weren’t being serious. And this is why the Internet is pure hate.

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Posted by Matt on December 19, 2009

FREEEEEEEEEEEDOM.

Item: I noticed a thread on a board titled ‘Is this the first gen without three numbered Final Fantasies?’ In the past, I have seen threads about how it’s weird that the latest console Zelda did not come out three years after the previous one, as the last two games did, or that they think the new Metroid will come out in August for some pattern-related reason.

Finding and being obsessed with patterns for things as erratic as videogame development and release is one of the most Aspergers/OCD thing I can think of, and I’m someone who writes notes and lists for fun.

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JEFF

Posted by Matt on September 20, 2009

Statements that infuriate me (and are tangentially related to this surprisingly popular post):

“Just wait for the sequel” and “They’re saving it for the sequel”

These are usually employed when people find that the latest thing doesn’t have everything they wanted, in an effort to temper disappointment. Sequels do often happen, so why do I dislike these kinds of reactions?

Sequels DO happen, but the first one is showing a little too much optimism, and is only setting themselves up for even more disappointment if a sequel is never made. It’s counting your chickens before they hatch and all that overused jazz. The second one is bad for a different reason – if you actually heard that the developer decided not to put something into the game solely for the reason of saving it for a future game, wouldn’t that piss you off? It would piss me off. What a lazy move, and one also filled with overt optimism about future prospects. Thankfully, I don’t think many developers actually think like that. That kind of thinking on the part of the fans is just another one of their attempts to complicate matters unnecessarily. Kind of like how conspiracy theorists have an easier time believing politicians are reptilian aliens rather than accepting chaotic reality, some people would rather think that there’s some radical overarching plan for the reason X wasn’t included (I remember when forum-goers theorized that Super Smash Bros. Brawl didn’t have any Metroid Prime-based content because those filthy Nippon slanteyes hated the games, and they were later proven incredibly wrong) when in reality the reason X isn’t there is because the creators didn’t have the time, the resources, or they just didn’t think of it.

But realizing that would involve accepting Occam’s Razor, which it seems none of them are capable of doing.

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Gak

Posted by Matt on September 7, 2009

Man, I keep coming back to the fact that fandoms are leeches.

It really astonishes me how much of a sense of ownership/entitlement a lot of people have in regards to their favorite properties. We all have favorite parts of things, but these types go a lot farther – they are OBSESSED with whatever their favorite element/character/story/etc. is, and if the creators do not kowtow to their particular tastes, well, that means they are EVIL and WRONG. The obvious example of this is fan fiction/shipping, but it extends to things that are even more trivial than that (read that sentence several times to really understand how low I’m going here). There were people who refused to buy the recent Turtles in Time remake because of the music. It is their money and they can whatever they want with it, but christ what a dumb thing to get in a tiff about.

This brings me to the horrible Catch-22 situation of fanservice games. Now, the idea of a game that includes stuff to make nerds joyous is all perfectly fine and dandy, but it opens itself up for a whole heap of bullshit. Once these tard sharks get a taste of sweet recognition, they will demand more. And when they want more, they want more as in more of what THEY want; fuck everyone else, they might as well not exist. So now you have a situation where you try to please as many people as possible, but in the end it is impossible, because there are so many wide, divergent tastes among the crowds of fans. Unless you are a god or you have ten years of development, you then have to live with the fact that some picky buyers are going to refuse your product because they didn’t get EXACTLY what they wanted, even if it is something inconsequential (oh god has Smash Bros. fandom taught me this over and over and over). Of course they can live with that, because in general there will be more happy campers than grumpy Gusses, plus who the hell cares what some nerd on the Internet is mad about. But they will be mad, and the victim will not be the bank account of the game maker (no matter how much the fan wishes it was just to prove their point), but you and me, the rational nerds who may want to talk online about something and thus must endure the whining or leave interaction with others behind.

Basically, the issue is that once you give your fans the idea that they mean something, they will take that idea to the very extreme, and set themselves up for disappointment when reality rears its ugly but sublimely right head. They feel abandoned, they feel like they were lied to, and they want everyone else to know how much the creator has betrayed them, using the greatest/worst tactics of political punditry, namely making up statistics and extrapolating anecdotal evidence in order to show that they are ‘right’ about that betrayal. The latter is especially dubious, considering that the Internet is just one giant echo chamber for even the most half-baked lunatic idiocies the human mind can concoct.

Even stuff that aren’t such a big source of fanservice can gain a following that thinks they are the primary director of the property. This is likely based on the money/time factor; they give the creator money, they devote time to their creation, so obviously they are the only thing between the creator and utter failure. There’s a more emotional possibility in there, too; the fan wants to be associated with something successful, so they choose that property (this explains something like console fanboys more than anything), or they become uncomfortably attached to the characters or theme and they essentially become a part of their lives. But these cause them to forget why they became fans in the first place: because of the creator’s ideas. It is lunacy to like something for what it is and then try to force it to conform to your own ideas. But that’s the world for you.

And it’s not that I’m against people second-guessing a creator’s decisions…far from it. But the problem is that there is no rationality behind this, purely their biases taking over. They don’t criticize someone because made something truly inferior, but because it does not include something they wanted, and solely for that reason. The game looks fine, but if they don’t include my personal favorite characters then IT SUCKS.

And yet here I am, back for more punishment. I went through Super Smash Bros. Brawl, numerous VS System and Heroclix sets, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and I was able to survive despite the onslaught and morons. Now I am once again in the fray with TMNT: Smash Up, and once again every time I go to a message board looking for news or at least some decent conversation I am transformed into human rage after being exposed to too many fan comments. But dammit, I love this stuff, and I am stronger than any fanboy. I will defeat their petulant whining! I will sail past their enormous senses of entitlement! I will overpower their 1000-word text tantrums*! I am the greetest!

*No, I don’t see any irony here. Nope, not at all.

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The dead speak to me

Posted by Matt on August 27, 2009

Funny, this seems entirely appropriate for what I imagine is the majority audience for Play. By the way, Play fucking sucks.

Oh yeah, and nerd justification for said thing based on argument of ‘but but but they based it on something artistic!’ in the comments (or at least one comment). Hilarious how often that one pops up!

And because I’ve already gone on a spree of posts with no substance, here’s 20 quotes I quite enjoy from various sources in no particular order.

“I’m the insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over and the insect is awake.” – The Fly (1986 version)

“Second comes right after first!” – Buzz Aldrin on The Simpsons (“Deep Space Homer”)

“Were people this dumb before television?” – Don Delillo’s White Noise

“They never die/They just go to sleep one day” – David Bowie’s ‘Sons of the Silent Age’

“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.” – Alan Moore

“Solutions are not the answer” – Tricky Dick

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Chaos Magickal Things

Posted by Matt on August 20, 2009

After being slightly involved in another discussion of 80s culture/nostalgia, I have come to a realization. I really don’t know if I should continue to be just annoyed by rampant 80s nostalgia, or whether I should be frightened by it. I mean, there was a reason that decade produced V for Vendetta, Robocop, and They Live. It also reminds me of the most menacing aspects of Seaguy (I hope the collection of the second series comes out soon, BTW).

Onto lighter things, after a packed summer of movie tie-ins (more than I’ve ever seen in one season), 7-11’s newest slurpee accessory is something a little out of left field. The Magic Straw (wish I had pictures, but I don’t) is a fucking wonderful contraption that confuses and bedazzles all. Watch in amazement as you drink from one straw even as it is clearly not the same straw that is in the slurpee itself! Gaze in befuddlement as you slowly (or, if you are not a subhuman, quickly) figure out that obviously there is another straw hidden within the shitty little figure holding the two other straws! And finally, be marveled at the real magic of the straw as it makes your hard-earned money disappear!

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