Top 10 Questions About Cyberpunk 2077

I know that I wrote in a post that people shouldn’t get aboard the hype train too much because that’s where insane crunch like the 100 hour work weeks at Rockstar comes from, but I can’t help it!  This game has me on the line, and every piece of news that comes out is magic to me.  I’ve watched the 48 minute gameplay demo 1000 times by now.  I hang on every detail.  I could go on about it for days.  But there are a few things that really catch my eye.  Things that I cannot get out of my head.  Now, I know that I’m some rando WordPress blogger who once aspired to legit journalism, so the chances of getting these answered if virtually nil, but I’m gonna put them out there and see what, if anything, comes back.  Here are my top 10 questions about Cyberpunk 2077.

10. How is shopping with street vendors gonna work?
I couldn’t help but notice all the vendors in this game.  There was a pizza place, a guy selling defective equipment, but there is one in-particular that caught my eye – the dude selling vinyl albums.  Can I buy from that dude?!  How about pizza dude?  How much of the vendor culture am I gonna be able to interact with?  There was a bit where a dude is trying to sell you a camera, and you had the ability to say yes.  Does that mean that all sorts of people selling all sorts of stuff is gonna be open to the player?  Oh, and speaking of the vinyl…

9. Are you gonna be able to have a playlist at home?
Assuming that you can buy some of those vinyl albums, can you make your own music setup at home?  How many kinds of music will be represented?  I wanna make my character a pretentious net-runner, so some electronic or spin on classical would be rad.  Thinking Deadmau5 would go well in this universe, or some ATTLAS for the quieter moments.  Their style seems absolutely perfect for the kind of game that this is.

8. How much of the character’s back-story are you gonna be able to make?
During the intro to the gameplay demo, you saw that there is a personal history section.  In the pen-and-paper RPG days, you could fill in the backstory.  So my question is, since you have made very clear that you are keeping it as loyal to that old-school system and mythos as you can, how much can I put in?  I mean, the options probably have to be limited, since otherwise you’d have games crashing under their own complication, but I want to know.  And while we’re on the topic of the mythos…

7. Will there be an in-game codex for the lore?
I REALLY wanna be able to learn about the history of this game.  One of my favorite things in the Mass Effect games (at least the first three good ones) was the codex.  Anytime I wanted to learn something new about the world, the aliens, the tech, I could look at the codex and study.  Hell, everyone’s favorite part of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC was reading the random entries about all the characters.  Will I have such a thing in the game itself?  I saw that we have a computer.  Will it be there?  Oh, which is a nice segway to…

6. When will we get to see the computer?
Given the HUD and how stuff all seems to be there, I’m curious how the computer is going to be integrated into the game.  On the touch-screen gizmo on your window, you could check your messages there.  How is this going to work?  Cyberpunk email sounds kinda fun.  Not to mention, give me a place I can go and pour over the codex while listening to my music and you have me all over your game.  No joke, I will learn everything there is to know.

5. How will relationships work in this game?
I saw in the trailer that V wakes up with a rando dude.  Way too much facial hair for my liking, but whatever floats her boat.  I notice that you didn’t seem to set up taking the dude to bed?  Since I am probably gonna have a bi character (true to myself), am I gonna have some sort of way of interacting when I want them to come over for a booty call?  Not to mention, is the game gonna choose for me as this seemed to when that happens, and with whom?  You’ve said that interactions with the people are gonna be broad, but in terms of this, I am looking for some specifics.

4. For those who wanna play quiet, what will the options be?
As previously stated, I wanna be a net-runner, and would prefer to have a play style where I can talk my way out.  Don’t get me wrong, violence is fun, and getting to have crazy weapons to do so sounds great.  In another play-through, I probably will have a character who is all about shooting everything until it’s dead.  But starting out, I wanna be able to play the clever character with tech being my first line of defense.  With that in mind, I am curious to see what the play styles will be and what kinds of upgrades I can do in order to play that way.

3. Is there gonna be some kind of system to keep track of the player’s relationship to the various factions?
You’ve talked about how what you do is going to leave a mark in the various factions of the game.  That’s great!  I loves it.  Get me some Fallout: New Vegas action going on in manipulating allegiances.  But I am curious to know if there will be a system of some kind to keep track of where I stand with various elements of the city, if at all.  Like those creepy Maelstrom gangers and the Corpo pieces of shit that I will be undercutting.  My net-running is gonna be used against them in a big way.  I love the idea that what I do will change the way the world interacts with me, but it would be nice to have some sort of way of knowing where I stand with X group before I have a mission where I have to interact with them.

2. How is the katana gonna work?!
I couldn’t help but notice that when you go into the armory in the game, one of the slots that is available is for a goddamn katana!  Wants!  But that got me to thinking – since this is a first-person game, how is it going to work with that?  Genuinely curious.  First-person blade weapons has been a HUGE area of hit-or-miss throughout the years.  I’m more than a little curious what your take is going to be.  Not to mention, can we upgrade the blade?  Make it all electric like Raiden’s from Metal Gear Rising?  Since I wanna be a net-runner, with a focus on being quiet and stealthy, big guns don’t do much for me.  But this caught my eye.

1. When am I gonna be able to download that song by Johnny Silverhand?!
Please, for the love of Groj, tell me that some of the music in this game is coming to iTunes.  It would genuinely disappoint me if it wasn’t.  That song featured in the trailer is part of the reason I am hooked.  I wanna let my inner punk go nuts to that!  I get the feeling that Johnny Silverhand might be my “Personal Hero” character, though Blackhand is in the running.  I know who those characters represented are.  I’ve been doing my research on the source material.  So yeah, when can I get my hands on that song?!

So yeah, those are my questions.  Gonna send these over to CD Projekt RED and Cyberpunk 2077‘s Twitter pages and see if I can get a response.  Not holding my breath, but you never know.  I got Focus Home Interactive to respond to me with my First Take on their new game, A Plague Tale: Innocence.  So maybe I can with these guys too.  I’m a firm believer in the rumor that the game is coming out in 2019, with all they’ve said about making sure it’s optimized with current consoles, it would have to.  2020 is gonna be the beginning of a new generation.  What are your questions?  Let me know in the comments.  If I can get a response from them, I will definitely keep you posted.

Until next time, a quote,

“Got the chrome in the bloodstream
Got a hot red metal soul,
I’m out looking for action,
Guess I’m on a roll.” – Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077

Peace out,

Maverick

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The Death of Apu: A Symbol of What’s to Come

I’ve long held a contention about all the bitching that SJWs do about films and characters and plots that they don’t like.  When there was that RIDICULOUS video about the “Dead Lesbian Syndrome,” I called it right then and there.  But now we are getting to see this in real time.  I hate being right as often as I am.  I really do.  Alas, the world lives down to my expectations, not up to them.

For those who are unaware, following all the STUPID controversy about how the character of Apu in The Simpsons is racist, and the show-runners seeming to stand their ground for a time, now they have decided to just unceremoniously ax him from the series.  Why?  Because he’s racist or some other stupid thing.  The fact that over the years he is an interesting character with an arc and a family and lots of layers?  Fuck that!  He’s racist because he has an exaggerated accent.  That’s all it takes.

Once-again, never mind that nobody is bitching about what they should be bitching about – that the series hasn’t been funny for the last 20 years and it is high time that they took it out back like Old Yeller and put it down in a humane way (with a loaded gun and a bullet through the head).  No, this series will keep being made until there isn’t even a husk of an audience left.  Actually, scratch that.  I know how the series will end – with one of the main voice actors who does a dozen characters dying and them just unceremoniously canceling it.  That’s how I bet you a hay-penny it will end.  But I digress.

What people are failing to understand is that what is happening to Apu is a symbol of what is to come.  A symbol of what this outrage culture really is going to result in.  Can you guess what it is?  For those of you who said “that Hollywood is just going to stop having these characters in stuff anymore”, congratulations!  You’re right!  Because they won’t want to deal with the endless sea of bullshit that comes with have a different character.  What’s that?  This other ethnicity has one thing that we don’t like?!  Huge controversy!  Massive outrage!  Fuck the series!  What’s this?  You killed off someone who is part of a group that I identify with?!  Boycott!  Endless boycott!  None of our very small but very vocal group is going to watch your stuff again!

Hollywood only cares about making money.  That’s it.  Nothing else matters.  For those of you social justice idiots who actually believe that these people are on your side, it’s high time that you really examined that point of view and realize how stupid it is.  And make no mistake – once the culture at large is finally fed up with this and realized how homogenized and safe everything is and starts tuning out, they will turn on you faster than you can say “but, my outrage!”

We live in interesting times.  One of the creators at Rockstar said that they are glad that they aren’t releasing GTA VI in today’s social climate.  Can you imagine the backlash?  It’s a virtual guarantee that regardless of what side of the equation they pissed off, they would be getting death threats and all sorts of things, all because they made a crowd mad.  I mean, if they were to satirize this climate, the shit-spinning that the social justice retards would do is out of control.

The other day, The Young Turks decided to vilify gamers yet-again with some crazy bitch on their pop culture show when they were talking about the stories coming out about the insane hours at Rockstar.  They had this guest who made it out to be that not only is Rockstar racist, but that gamers are racist and won’t play games with black people in them.  It was insane.  More proof of how their show has gone to shit.  Ah, for the days when The Young Turks was actually interesting.  Do you remember them?  It seems like a weird golden age ago.  Back when you could say things that people found offensive and people didn’t try to deplatform and destroy you for it.  Magical.

The moral of the story is – Apu is not just a character being kicked off a show that should have run its course after the 10th season.  He’s a referendum to what Hollywood will do when they feel the social justice wagons circling.  They are going to ditch these characters.  Because you can NEVER please these people!  It doesn’t matter how much you try and make the characters non-offensive, you are going to offend somebody.  And once you do, it’s not worth the endless news cycle vilifying you and your program.  Better to just cut your loses and deal with it.  But they won’t learn that.  To them, it’s just “this character is racist!  Change it, shitlords!”

Nobody is saying what I and many others have been saying for years now – this series is dead!  Let it die in peace!

Until next time, a quote,

“The guy who watched The Simpsons back in 1994, and won’t admit the damn thing isn’t funny anymore.” – Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Retro Review: Macross Plus

I didn’t think the day would come.  The day when I would find the perfect anime.  So many series have come close to absolute perfection, but then fallen short in one way or another.  But then I came across this gem, and it blew away every expectation that I have ever had.  As in for all time?  An anime that was made so long ago, and did more in four episodes than so many series do in 24.  A tribute to its genre, and fast climbing my list of favorite anime.  Let me tell you about Macross Plus.

The Macross franchise has a very long history of anime, ranging in quality.  But one thing that they all have in common is some breath-taking animation.  These series were the hallmark of a generation of anime.  When companies were willing to throw money at whatever and you had to do everything by hand.  None of that exists today.  There are no risks.  There are not great works.  It’s all just computer-generated, creatively bankrupt garbage.  Modern anime is so high on my shit list that it isn’t funny.

So what do you get when you get the creator of Cowboy Bebop and Yoko Kanno together again and making something in the Macross franchise?  You get this!  And holy shit!  This series is something else. Telling the story of two fighter pilots, two fighter jets, an old flame, and a shadowy villain who wants to exploit an AI to their own ends, this series has everything going for it.  With emotional moments, great action, and some fantastic voice-acting, I made my point about how it makes a series that gets a story done in 4 episodes that others don’t in 13-24.

I can’t think of anything I have seen with this quality of production outside of a feature-length film.  The animation in this series is breath-taking.  The action scenes have such perfection that my mouth was hanging open for the entirety of when they happen.  Not a single frame in this series doesn’t look absolutely stunning.  My favorite scenes are the ones with the fighters.  Every action set-piece is a work of cinematic brilliance.  To think that this is what Shinichiro Watanabe is capable of with enough money and talent behind him.  Makes me wish he hadn’t made his most recent pile of crap series.  Oh well.

It’s hard to really talk about this stuff.  Negative reviews are always easier.  There’s always more to say.  Let me put it to you like this?  Do you like absolutely everything that matters having fantastic detail put in, and a series that clearly has no financial limitations because it’s only four episodes long?  Well you’re in luck!  Because that’s what this series is.  It’s like a full-length movie’s worth of effort, chopped up into four perfectly beautiful pieces.  With action that’s biggest flaw is that it has to end.  But I get why.  If they had the kind of animation for that all the time, their budget would die.  This series knows when to scale back and let mood be more of a story-teller to give the animation budget a break.  Very clever, Watanabe.

Something people lose sight is the digital animation just can’t capture the real world the way that hand-painted cells can.  There is something about light and shadow that can be done in hand-painted series that just can’t be duplicated.  The way this series plays with light and shadow is a testament to that.  You forget how great this stuff looks until you can see it again at its best.

Then you get the music.  As I said, it’s Yoko Kanno.  Everything that that woman touches is absolute gold.  Macross Plus is no exception.  I know I’m gonna start sounding like a broken record, but my favorite parts of the series with her music are the action ones.  This woman can make crazy escapades by the two main characters and their fighters into something special.  Of course, Isamu’s scenes always take the cake.  Kanno has a gift for writing music to suit his out of control nature.  I don’t know what she does, but it’s great.

But the creme de la creme on this franchise has got to be the voice acting.  Did you know that Bryan Cranston has done voice work in anime?  Neither did I!  And wow!  Does this guy even know how to do bad work?  It amazes me how this dude is pitch-perfect in his role.  He genuinely steals the show in every conceivable way.  The rest of the cast is good and all, but Cranston outshines them without even trying.  Given that this series was made in 1994, the fact that he is so young makes perfect sense!  His character is too.  Hot-headed, out to prove that he’s the best, with the talent to back it up.  But he doesn’t just have that in his repertoire.  There are some genuine emotional moments that really stick with him.

All that being said, I do have to talk about the rest of the cast.  It’s a star-studded affair.  They got some of the best from the period when this was dubbed to do the work, and they all shine.  The role of Goa is pretty good too.  Playing off Isamu’s asshole, he comes off like kind of a dick, but you can see the bad history between them.  The scene where the two fight is just great.

When I think of the glory days of anime, this is what comes to mind.  The days when directors were given a crap-ton of money and nobody knew if it was going to come back to them or not.  In this time were produced a wonderful amalgamation of some of the greatest anime ever produced and some of the biggest piles of shit.  But it was just that – one or the other.  And this series is among some of the best ever created.  In a class of its own.  It is a perfect anime, capturing the perfect time to make it.

Final Verdict
10 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: Gaming Culture Needs to Change, for the Devs’ Sake

I’m sure you all read the stories that came out about how Rockstar has been working their staff to verifiably insane degrees.  100 hour work weeks is ridiculous.  A 60 hour work week is already bananas, but now add another full work week to that.  No rational person can handle that.  But the worst part is that this is nothing new.  Horror stories coming out of EA are old news by this point.  Same with Ubisoft.  In fact, it is a known fact within the gaming industry that there are very few companies that don’t engage in this sort of behavior.  It’s a tragedy, really.  And it’s because of this that I think there needs to be some changes

It bugs me when I see in the comments on these articles that devs shouldn’t complain.  After all, they make big money, right?  So what if they are a little inconvenienced?  The rationale of people who have never had that level of crunch before.  I used to work retail.  At Target.  The management there was shit, so at the end of EVERY SINGLE DAY, we were out late.  Why?  Because we would have to work overtime in order to get all the shit that needed to be finished done.  All because management didn’t know how to handle people.  It sucked the life out of us when each and every night we are getting out almost an hour late.  It’s long about midnight when we are heading home.  Now I imagine that feeling, seven days a week, where you work 16 hour days.  No sane person can live that way.

But why does gaming culture need to change?  What did we do?  I mean, isn’t this a thing where the people involved need to unionize or the government needs to have stricter regulations?  Sure, those things do need to happen.  However, there is a deeper cause that people aren’t seeming to see.  It is a problem that goes beyond the gamers who are part of it.  There is a corporate problem.  So don’t think I’m pointing the fingers at gamers specifically.  The entire industry needs a shift, and soon.

This problem comes from the hype cycle.  The yearly release cycle.  Gamers get so rabid for new released.  I’m guilty of this as well.  I have been hanging on every piece of news that comes out about Cyberpunk 2077.  I am one of the people who believes the theory going around that the game is going to be released in 2019.  Especially since the devs say they have worked overtime to optimize the game to current consoles.  They have made very clear that as amazing as that gameplay trailer looked, it did so on tech that current consoles can handle.  It was a huge news story where they said they aren’t shooting for a next-gen release.  That and some of the bits about leaked info, I am reasonably certain.

That being said, if Cyberpunk 2077 did come out in 2020, as much as that would be a bit of a bummer for me, I’d be okay with it.  If it means that the devs could have a working life that doesn’t push them to these extremes, I would be perfectly fine with it.  In fact, when I get news that a game I want is being pushed back, that generally makes me happy, because it means the devs are doing their best to make sure everything is done well and it is the best it can be.

A sentiment that cannot be seen among the rest of gaming culture.  For example, if Rockstar had come out and said that Red Dead Redemption II had to be delayed for months or even longer in order to not have to crunch like this, what do you think the reaction would be?  It would be outrage.  Fan rage would be everywhere.  Shit-posts left and right.  People saying that the devs shouldn’t complain so much.  You know I’m right.

When I started this, I said that gamers aren’t the only ones to blame for this, and I wasn’t lying.  The truth is that the publishers are too.  Not only do huge corporations set hard deadlines that push people, but they also make the hype culture go out of control.  A lot of people blame Bioware for the end of Mass Effect 3 being as bad as it is, but the reality is that that had less to do with them and more to do with EA setting a hard deadline to when the game had to be released.  So they just cut corners and used the first draft of the ending written by some rando dude.  This story isn’t new.

There is something to be said for how Bethesda does thing. Typically, they don’t even announce games until they are almost ready, and when they are reasonably certain that this is when they will be ready.  It’s a good strategy.  Instead of dragging the hype cycle out, they can concentrate it into something that is damn-near orgasmic.  It’s impressive, to say the least.  Even if I don’t like all their game, their strategy of giving devs time to work without taxing them, waiting until they know it’s gonna be ready in time, that’s the right approach.

But these companies also like to get the hype train rolling too. They want to get gamers salivating and putting in those pre-orders.  That’s how the money gets made.  It works.  It really does.  I have been guilty of buying into it myself.  I like to think that I’m more stable about this stuff now, but like I said, I hang on all the news that comes out about Cyberpunk 2077.  It’s addicting.  Especially when I know that the developer has a pedigree for quality that I can tell they aren’t shying away from now.

All of this being said, there does need to be a change.  Gaming culture is becoming unsustainable.  We need to start treating these developers like human beings and having human expectations for them.  I guarantee, it would see the industry be better for it, even if games took longer to make.  We can afford for them to take the time.

Until next time, a quote,

“Got the chrome in the bloodstream
Got a hot red metal soul,
I’m out looking for action,
Guess I’m on a roll.” – Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077

Peace out,

Maverick

This is the Most Ethnocentric Anime Critique Ever (A response to Michelle Villanueva)

I saw this article around, but I told myself that I wasn’t going to go down the rabbit hole here.  That I was just going to brush this off and be like “okay…” to it and that was it.  But when I finally got around to reading this article, I was amazed at the most ethnocentric thing I have read in a VERY long time.  It genuinely blew my mind.  How a person who claims to be part of the “tolerant” culture immediately applies her own ethnic values in judging an entire nation.  This was amazing.  I’m in awe of how stupid this.  The article talks about the supposed link between “anime and fascism.”  Of which there is none.  At first it just goes on about making light of anime it feels falls into this category, before going on a huge tirade attacking Japan and the Japanese for not being the way she wants them to be.  It’s amazing.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

Before we get too far, know that this article is pretty long, and there is a lot that I don’t wanna talk about, so we’re gonna be jumping around here.  Read that link of you want to get the full context.

Was my reaction petty? Should I have just powered through the series even if the uniforms offended me? Other anime fans were able to watch this without getting upset, so why couldn’t I? Perhaps most importantly, why do a considerable number of anime series have Nazi expys?

Oh boy.  How much do you wanna bet that this is the kind of chick who watches a superhero film with a big scowl on her face thinking about how offensive it is?  Or watches anything, really.  I hope that these “Nazi expys” are pretty good, because you are going to have a REALLY hard time selling me on it.

One of the most popular anime series in recent years, Attack on Titan, takes place within a walled city whose citizens are dominated by a militaristic government. The main character, Eren Jaeger, joins the elite army corps tasked with the destruction of gigantic, ravenous, human-like creatures called Titans. The government controls every aspect of life within the city and spreads propaganda praising the military. Eren, seeking vengeance for losing his mother to the Titans, completely buys into the corps’ “kill ’em all” rhetoric. Attack on Titan takes place in a fascist state.

No, boo.  It takes place in a military state.  Sure, there is propaganda, but that’s partly because they want people being willing to join their military.  The survival of their entire way of life depends on it, and there is a very high probability that people will die.  Like, a lot of people.  Mainly because they have no choice but to be a military state.  Outside the walls are giant monsters that eat people.  That cannot be reasoned with or negotiated with in any capacity.  They will only kill and consume, for reasons unknown.  So the military exists to stop that violence.  Within the context of the series (a thing that SJWs like this hate to no end), it makes sense.  How do you know it’s fascistic?  Are the people being oppressed?  What has informed this in you?

Fullmetal Alchemist, one of the most beloved anime series of all time, is set in Amestris, a vaguely Germany-esque nation with, you guessed it, a militaristic government. To add to the fun, Amestris’ leader is even called Fuhrer Bradley. This connection is made more overt in the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, Conquerer of Shambala, where the plot reveals that Amestris is an alternate reality Germany. Even Hitler makes an appearance, in full-on anime form.

What a way to look at the forest without seeing the trees.  Yeah, it is an oppressive government.  One of the main plot points is that the alchemists who are supposed to serve the state are attack dogs.  Edward joins their ranks as a way to help his brother, but quickly comes to the realization that their nation is not the good guys.  He sees that they are being led by shadow forces to do unspeakably horrible things.  The nation’s evil is being guided by the villains in the series.  That’s what makes it interesting.  Plus, you have character who are working to overcome the bad things the country does to make things better.  Seems like you might have missed that.  Seems like you miss a lot of things.

The long-running series Mobile Suit Gundam, known for constantly reinventing itself since the late 1970s, almost always features an antagonistic sovereign state based on a jingoistic, WWII-era Germany.

Um, oh boy.  There is so much wrong with this statement.  For starters, the Principality of Zeon started as a revolution against the oppressive Earth government.  Spacenoids hated the Earth for controlling them and stealing their resources.  Zeon rose against that.  But it became a warlike group after Zeon was killed and the corrupt Zabi family took over.  That’s what led to the One Year War.  They used the imagery of Nazis, and did horrible things, but Earth was not the victim in this.  They were a part of the problem.  Do you even watch the anime that you’re criticizing?

On the surface, Japan seems to adore its own history. Samurai dramas are perennially popular, but there’s one era which has never really received much attention: WWII. The Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies does depict the horrors of post-war Tokyo in graphic detail, but Japan still has a tremendously difficult time accepting its role in conflicts from the 1930s and 1940s.

And here we go!  Let the ethnocentrism begin!  You are so uninformed about the culture that you are about to start attacking.  Japan after World War II was a very harsh place.  They did learn their lesson.  It’s why they are only now allowed to start having an official military again, and America is right there to make sure they don’t push too far on that.  It’s why their entire culture had a massive shift after they were so humbled.  Not to mention the fact that the war did such a massive number on the culture.  So many people dead, so much resources lost, not to mention that almost 10% of the entire Japanese population had a meth problem.

Neat historical fact – meth as we understand it today began in Japan.  They used to give it to pilots before missions.  That’s why you had kamikaze work as a strategy.  Those people were tweaking out.  It spread among the populace and like I said, almost 10% of the entire population of Japan had a drug problem at the end of the war.  This idiot’s statement that Japan doesn’t “accept” its role in what happened is asinine.

Japan, unfortunately, is still a very xenophobic nation and it has a difficult time accepting immigrants even if it sorely needs them. The country struggles to maintain a workforce with a dwindling population. More women are focusing on their careers instead of on family, which will eventually result in no new workers to replace the retiring ones. The country needs immigrants, which could cause resentment among Japanese citizens. This conservative, reactionary environment is ripe for creating and supporting media which fears foreigners, supports an all-reaching, totalitarian government, and celebrates the military.

Wow.  This bitch is so close to having a decent point when she just loses it.  Yeah, the Japanese population is dropping precipitously.  A trend that is growing in the rest of the First World, not that she will tell you.  Which is a good thing, by the way.  Overpopulation is killing this planet.  But Japan does have a xenophobic attitude.  This is true.  What will happen next is interesting.

Then she decides to take the actual facts about it and go all Yoda in Episode I with it and make a causal chain to a fascist military state.  What evidence do you have for this?  It wasn’t just fear of immigrants that led to Nazi Germany, after all.  It was the Burning of the Reichstag, the destroyed German economy because the Treaty of Versailles was an egregious document, and a charismatic leader who put the blame on a group of people that historically has been popular to hate – the Jews.  Not justifying that, but from a historical perspective, hating Jews has been pretty common.

Japanese society elevates and praises women who are submissive, delicate, and willing to acquiesce to men in all things. It’s no wonder that some alt-righters gravitate towards “moe” girls as avatars, to depict the sort of girl they want instead of those uppity feminists. Anime girls don’t talk back, after all, and many “moe” characters aren’t shown in relationships unless the show is specifically a romance anime, freeing them for waifu status.

You’re making a political judgment call about an entire nation based on one form of anime.  Never mind the plethora of anime out there with interesting female characters, like Black Lagoon, Baccano, FLCL, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Rahxephon, Darker than Black, Psycho-Pass, I could be here all fucking day.  This is so racist.  How can you make this broad a statement about Japan and the people who live there based on one form of anime?  By the way, what evidence do you have that “moe” anime is connected to the “alt-right”?  Another term that has been used to that point of having no meaning outside of using it.

While acknowledging that lots of anime can appeal to fascists, what can be done to make sure that these shows aren’t idealizing it?

Ah, another SJW who wants all the media that she doesn’t like to fit with what SHE wants.  I’m so glad that we have these people out there.  Not understanding context and feeling that if someone else doesn’t make things the way that they want them, it has to change because it offends them.  Can they just not watch it?  Nope!  They have to get YOU to change it for them.  The entitlement of these people never ceases to amaze.  At least the creator of Steven Universe stuck to their guns and made an SJW show of their own.  I have more respect for them than you, bitch.

Fascism in anime becomes a problem when fans glorify and emulate these clearly evil characters. After all, there are tons of stormtrooper cosplayers among Star Wars fans, but do any of them actually believe that the Empire was right?

We also have another SJW who hates fun.  For fuck’s sake, people aren’t trying to emulate them!  People are just liking the look and getting into the fandom!  Why is that a bad thing?  Yeah, I think that Lord Darcia in Wolf’s Rain is cool, but do I want to find a group of wolves trying to get to Paradise and kill them horribly?  No, I don’t.  Because I recognize that what’s cool in fiction is not cool in reality.  Why are these people so concerned about what other people do with their time?  I just don’t fucking get this.  Let them live their lives, bitch!  It isn’t hurting you at all.

So, is there any need for the ACCA characters to be in those uniforms? No, the uniforms don’t seem to be involved in any plot points. But why have it at all? Why even attempt to evoke it when the imagery might (as it did with me) conjure up negative connotations? It only seemed as if the manga creator just liked the aesthetic, and perhaps, like in those memes, there’s a fun sense of irony in the dissonance between sympathetic characters and SS-esque uniforms.

Again, seeing the forest but missing the trees!  Hell, you even touch on it!  Maybe the person just likes the aesthetic!  Did ya think of that?!  And so what if you don’t like that aesthetic?  They should make a show for your sensibilities?!  Entitled bitch!  Ugh!  This is so dumb!  This is like SJW jingoism, I swear.

I can’t keep up with this.  This woman is so stupid.  It blows my mind how stupid this is.  The fact that SYFY calls this “journalism” blows my mind.

Until next time, a quote,

“Judging all species as if they are one’s own is racist.  A kind of benign anthropomorphism.  All species should be judged individually.” – Legion, Mass Effect 2

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Halloween Specials

Once upon a time, I used to do posts for the holidays each year.  However, as time went on, I found I had less and less to say on the matter.  I try to do a yearly Thanksgiving post.  It’s important to remember what one is thankful for in life, after all.  Groj knows, some years it’s hard to know.  However, a person who regularly comments on my site posed a rather interesting thought on my Top 10 Christmas Specials post – what are my top 10 Halloween specials?  I liked the thought, and while it is a little early to the holiday, I figured that I would post this.

As with my Christmas special post, I will say that not all of these movies are specifically about Halloween.  Some of them are either using the imagery or the time of year, but when I think of this holiday, these are the pieces of fiction that immediately come to mind.  Let us begin this mostly-frightful voyage.

10. The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror
Some of you are probably asking – why is this so low on the list?  I’ll tell you – because the fucking show is still going!  The most common refrain is that it is high time for The Simpsons to end.  This is a criticism that is not without merit.  This series has gone on so long that even some of the cast members are dying.  When I saw that they were making a film, I thought that that was where it was going to end.  And given that the movie was funny, it would have been a good place.  However, it still goes.
That being said, while not all of these yearly specials are great, some of the most memorable moments from the franchise come from these episodes.  They are creative, weird, got more violent as the showrunners found they could get away with more stuff, and while the series was good, told some engrossing stories.  One even got James Earl Jones to narrate Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven.  It was pretty great stuff.  Were it that this series had had the good sense to end when it was creatively bankrupt, it would be so much higher on this list.

9. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Carlie Brown
There’s something so charming about the Charlie Brown animated specials.  Each of them is memorable in its own way.  The story of Linus believing in the great pumpkin, while all Charlie Brown gets in his bag for trick or treating is a rock, is charming.  However, the thing which always sticks with me about this special was the story of Snoopy as the Red Baron.  The narrative is fun, and the imagery is good.  These shorts are never the best, but the quirky animation and the cutesy aesthetic sticks with me, even to this day.

8. Monster House
This is a movie which debuted without a lot of fanfare, but it really is an underrated gem of the holiday. Telling the story of a mysterious house that gobbles up whatever enters the yard, it becomes a mystery of two young boys and then later on an unlucky Girl Scout trying to solve the mystery of what evil force has possessed the home and then stopping it.  A CG film, the animation is cute, the characters are fun, the dialogue is great, and the narrative is engaging.  I remember seeing this in theaters with a girl I was into when it came out, and it still sticks with me.  Most of you probably haven’t heard of it, but you should check it out.  It’s a good scary film for kids.

7. Donnie Darko
The only good movie ever to come from this director.  The story of the titular character, his dark visions, and the meaning of it all is set around Halloween.  The story ends on Halloween night.  Donnie Darko is an interesting character.  Depressed, he wants to find out the answers to what’s happening.  The thing that really engages me is the world of his visions, and how it affects all the characters in his life.  This is a very downer movie, but that isn’t a bad thing.  You keep with the narrative all through it, until Donnie gets to the end.  Not a scary film, but a dramatic one.  Unraveling a mystery of greater forces at work in the life of a teenager and how his unraveling brings so much to light around him.  Worth watching, in my opinion.

6. The Crow
The tragic tale of Brandon Lee, whose career in action films was stopped before it could even start.  Something a lot of people don’t seem to acknowledge is that this film is set in the Halloween season.  The climax is leading up to a series of fires that is going to be started on Devil’s Night.  The night before Halloween.  Telling the story of Eric Draven, a fallen rocker who is brought back from the dead to get revenge.  By far one of my favorite superhero movies, this dark film and Lee’s amazing acting brings this story to life like none other.  I love it.  Really sucks that Lee didn’t get to go on from here.  I can only imagine what a bright future he would have had.

5. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
I could make an entire list of my favorite of the animated Garfield specials.  The late Lorenzo Music gave his voice to a character who is so iconic.  There will never be another who can do the voice quite like him.  This tells the tale of Garfield being an asshole and getting Odie to help him get more candy, while planning on taking most of it for himself.  However, after a terrible idea of his causes him to end up at an island on the river, he finds that this night has more than just a little bad luck for him.  It’s cute, it’s fun, and Music is in top form.  What more is there to want?

4. Ginger Snaps
One of my favorite horror movies, this low-budget film tells the tale of two sisters.  The first is Ginger, domineering, mean-spirited, and cold.  The second is Bridgette.  She’s kind-natured, loyal to her sister to whatever end, and infinitely more submissive.  After being attacked by a werewolf, it is the submissive sister who tries to hold things together as his dominant sister is slowly turning into a monster.  This is a very well told story of family, loyalty, and how far you will go to protect the ones you love.  It all hinges on the relationship of the sisters, and I’m glad to say that they do amazingly in their respective roles.  Ginger grows more sassy and sexy, while there is a charm to Bridgette’s kind submissiveness.  The creature designs are cool, the tension is great, and the violence is so hardcore.  And since it all ends on Halloween night, the time is perfect to see it if you haven’t already.

3. Sleepy Hollow
While this film isn’t set on Halloween, the imagery associated with it is all over this movie.  It’s pretty great stuff.  When it came out, a lot of critics didn’t know what to think of it.  The gore effects are silly, the acting is almost-universally over-the-top, but it tells an engrossing who-dun-it narrative where you already know part of it.  As for me, when this movie came out, I was in love.  The same girly-mate I saw Monster House with used to own this movie, and I loved seeing it.  Johnny Depp was in form here.  Ah, for the days before his weirdness in movies was typecast.  It seems like so long ago, doesn’t it?  Telling the tale of a headless horseman who is cutting the heads off everyone, Depp is on a mission to find out why this is happening, and who is responsible.  Neat fact: for whatever reason, Christopher Walken wasn’t credited in the movie as the Horseman.  I will never get why that was the case.  It’s distinctive cinematography, kooky gory violence, and Christina Ricci in her best years.  There isn’t much about this film I don’t like.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Perhaps this is kind of cheating, since I put this on my Christmas Specials list as well, but the beauty of this movie is that it works for both holidays.  Here’s a movie that has kind of gotten lost in its own popularity.  People seem to forget that this is a simple story.  A fairytale about the Pumpkin King becoming disenfranchised with his own holiday and wanting something new.  It’s a very cute story, telling Jack Skellington’s tale.  The visuals are amazing.  The stop-motion animation was the best in its class.  This film has aged so well, and the music was Danny Elfman at his best, especially for Jack’s singing roles.  It got insanely popular because of the nostalgia age we live in thanks to the Internet, but I still love this film for exactly what it is.

And my favorite Halloween special is…

1. Trick ‘r Treat
Another neat fact: the same guy who directed the Christmas horror classic Krampus first directed this, and holy shit!  This guy has a real eye for capturing the spirit of a holiday in his movies.  Kinda makes me hope he does more holiday-themed horror movies.  Or at least does horror with clear inspirations that can show how much due diligence was done to capture it.  This movie is a masterpiece of its genre.  There is no film that I can think of that captures the nature of Halloween better than this movie.  Telling a series of stories, all tied together by a creepy child, each story is unique and twisted in its own way.  If you want a good movie that you can watch with your friends telling an anthology of horror stories that make the most of this holiday setting, you genuinely can’t go wrong.  This director has a gift, and I hope to see more of his works in the future.

What about you?  What are your favorite Halloween specials?  Let me know down below.  Until next time, a quote,

“Halloween’s my kind of a holiday.  It’s not like those other stupid holidays.  I don’t get pine needles in my paws.  There’s no dumb bunnies.  No fireworks.  No relatives.  Just candy!” – Garfield, Garfield’s Halloween Adventure

Peace out,

Maverick

Is Politics in Gaming Bad?

I know that I recently railed against an article by Kotaku about the new Spider-Man game and how it wasn’t political enough for the person writing it.  And I stand by that, trust and believe.  However, when Ubisoft was just recently quoted as saying that a political message in gaming is bad for business in a very absolute way, that got me to thinking about this concept in a broader sense.  Are political messages in gaming bad?  On the merits, are they a bad thing?

CD Projekt Red has said that there are going to be an inherently political side to their game, and to me that makes perfect sense.  Cyberpunk, as a genre, has a political edge to it.  Watch Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell and tell me I’m wrong.  Whether it be the nature of an underclass society and what it means to be free, or a world where everyone is integrated with tech and asking what it means to be human anymore, respectively.  Telling stories about a world where there is unfairness and the punk can go from no one to someone like the story in Cyberpunk 2077 has a political edge to it by its nature.  So why are people saying that politics in gaming is bad on the merits of it?

Well, part of it is because, in recent years, political messages in gaming has not been even-handed.  It’s all about how you approach it.  Too many games have just shoved its politics down your throat and had the games media to back it up if you complained.  That’s not good story-telling.

Some of my favorite movies have political messages.  Recently, I talked about a really great film called Eye in the Sky.  It had a ton of political themes going at once, but was so even-handed with it that I was genuinely impressed.  It doesn’t tell you how to think, just gives you the narrative and lets you come to your own conclusions.  Were they in the right for getting that little girl killed in order to take out someone who is about to do a suicide bombing?  I say yes, but I’m sure plenty of other people say no.  And that’s an interesting debate to have.  I would have that debate and enjoy it.

What are some of your favorite stories?  The ones that really clicked with you?  Think about the politics of those stories.  In Lord of the Rings, you had the prejudice of Gimli against elves being contrasted by his growing friendship with Legolas.  In Final Fantasy X you have the corruption of the church, and the hatred of an atheist society that still wants to help the world.  In the first (and only good) season of Psycho-Pass, you have the cruelty of a system that judges people and dispenses justice as cruelly as the system judges you.  All of these stories had politics in them as a major theme, and all of them are well-regarded.

Of course, then we get the contrasting opposite of this.  You get the Battlefield V kind, where it has a woman with one arm in the British military in World War II.  People were right to get pissed about that.  It’s blatantly ridiculous, and it was done for the specific purpose of selling a narrative.  And if you didn’t like that narrative, you are a horrible bigot.  That’s pretty much the definitive of not being even-handed.

It’s telling that The Last of Us: Part II didn’t get as much blow-back.  Mostly because Naughty Dog was content to just put their next story idea and one of the messages it has out there and not go on about it.  Sure, for a little while, games media was all about it.  But even games media didn’t come that hard to their defense.  After all, most were assuming that the India lesbian is gonna be dead at some point in the story, given the depressing nature of the narrative.  Maybe that’s because, while Neil Druckmann has SJW tendencies, he still does his best to make good stories.  But there’s something to be said about putting something out into the world and letting people judge it on its merits.  And you can see this in the positive ratings on the trailer in question.

The point I’m making is that if you want politics in something, don’t just shy away from that.  But you have to approach it in an even-handed way.  Put the politics of a world you’re creating out there and let the player/viewer come to their own conclusions about it.  That’s how you do it in a way that doesn’t piss people off.  I know, novel concept to games media, who will bitch and moan about politics in gaming not being blatant enough for them.  Subtlety is a lost art to the creatively bankrupt, talentless hacks at Kotaku.

Until next time, a quote,

“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” – H.L. Mencken

Peace out,

Maverick