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Damn it, Brent... why's it gotta be so sad?

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Year of Luigi
Nintendo announced recently that Luigi will be getting quite a bit of due attention this year, declaring 2013 to be "the year of Luigi." First he'll be staring in the Luigi's Mansion sequel for the 3DS, then he will be a big component of the next Mario and Luigi RPG on the 3DS. In the RPG game, Mario will enter Luigi's dreams where Luigi can be as awesome, if not better than, his overshadowing brother. Poking and prodding Luigi's face on the touch screen will also alter the dream world, allowing Mario to proceed through obstacles. And if that wasn't enough, there is a new DLC package planned for New Super Mario Bros U which basically adds an entire game's worth of new levels exclusively to be played by Luigi. Pretty solid stuff, Nintendo. Now say that 2014 is the year of the Peach!

Slavery Abolished!
Mississippi has finally ratified their 13th amendment, a motion to abolish slavery written back in 1865. The discovery that the amendment hadn't been passed came about when 2 academics decided to look into the status of the amendment after watching Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln. When it was discovered that the amendment had never been ratified, they contacted Mississippi's secretary of state, who arranged the passage of the bill on Feb 7th. Better late than never, right Mississippi?

Equestria Daily
My picture of Flutteryshy as a Crystal Kingdom Knight was featured on Equestria Daily yesterday. Thanks to whomever submitted it there, I was quite surprised to hear it was featured at all.

Adventure Time Progress Movie!
Sorry it took so long to complete, but here you go! You can see the progress of the Adventure Time illustration from start to finish now. Yay! Obviously to not bore anyone to death with the 8+ hours of drawing that I livestreamed, I flipped the video upside down (to be right side up for the viewer), sped it up, adjusted the clarity, and edited it much much shorter so you at least get an idea of what it was like. If you're masochistic enough to want to watch the full unaltered 8 hours you can do so on my Ustream account here: www.ustream.tv/channel/andy-s-…

In the meantime, enjoy the edited for time and entertainment youtube video!

  • Listening to: Yogscast
  • Reading: The Gashlycrumb Tinies
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Jaffa Cakes
  • Drinking: Water
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It seems that the gaming world is finally waking up to the fact that women DO actually play video games. They (the gaming industry) are not being mature about it, but the fact that a female perspective and voice is being heard more and more is a very good thing in my books.

The latest controversy to break out in the video game world has been over niche gaming studio Vanillaware's recent title "Dragon's Crown," and the absurdly sexualized female character of "The Sorceress" www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQKCga…

Some people are, naturally, offended that such a ludicrous character design with no sense of reality or function even exists, while the other side keeps saying "why are we even talking about this?" Both sides are being vocal, but they also seem to be talking past one another. One side seems to want to rid gaming entirely of sexy character designs, while the other seems to think this is some sort of "feminist agenda" and are being sexist in response because they fear having a discussion about it will take away these sorts of games that they enjoy.

With both sides arguing passionately for and against her design, I just wanted to throw my two cents into the ring...

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with having a sexy character in any medium. I also think that attempts to rid them entirely from games/books/whatever "just because" is kinda silly. A character being sexy does not automatically objectify them. Making a character "sexy" for no other reason than to gawk at them, does.

I think that the variety of what is known as "sexy" needs to be expanded upon. The stereotypical skinny, skimpily clad, big boob/butt ,"attractive," female character design needs to be just one of MANY sexy design options. Women don't have to be underdressed or have an hourglass figure to be considered sexy. Women can be completely clothed and still be attractive. They can be various shapes and sizes and still be "hot." (And this goes for men as well, though it's far less of an issue for them.)

The Vanillaware game is an interesting discussion, but I feel that it's getting in the way of a much bigger problem in the industry that we're not addressing. Sexy female characters are not inherently bad. The lack of variety and the industry's insistence that only one type of design choice for "sexy" women IS.

****

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? What sort of characters (male or female) do you find sexy but not sexist? Do such characters even exist in your mind? Do you think this is a worthwhile discussion or do you think we should just ignore it?
  • Mood: Content
  • Listening to: The Halfman's Song
  • Reading: Game of Thrones
  • Playing: Minecraft: Nerd Crafteria
  • Eating: Yes
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A few weeks ago I made mention of feminist Anita Sarkeesian who started a kickstarter for a web series called "Tropes Vs Women" specifically centered around how women are portrayed in video games.

Despite the fact that kickstarters are payed for by people who've made the decision they want to contribute their money to the project, Anita came under attack from gamers for "scamming" audiences when her fund far exceeded the target goal. Just this past week it's come out that a 25 year old man from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada, created a video game where the object is to punch the crap out of Anita. Wounds, bruises, and blood gush out the more you beat her up in this virtual game, and it's drawn some widespread attention.

Whether you agree with her viewpoint is not the issue, it's the fact that this retaliation is just "wrong" on so many levels. Do these people realize that what they're doing is shooting themselves in the foot? Making a video game where you beat up someone who's making a video about misogyny in video games is not only ironic, it's proving her point. Even more it's showing the mainstream world that "yes, there really IS a problem," and you can bet your ass they're not gonna take it lying down.

ACTA and SOPA were defeated, but they're not gonna be the last attempts to censor the internet. The more hate crimes and harassment reach the media, the more likely further initiatives to censor, restrict, and constrain your freedom to enjoy the internet. And do I really need to keep pointing out how "not ok" this whole ordeal actually is?

The internet is no longer just a place for web savvy teens and young adults to run rampant and get away with this sort of thing because "no one really cares." More and more businesses and simple everyday social activity are being done through the internet and it's only going to get more widespread and mainstream. Either we start policing ourselves and making sure that it's clear that this sort of behavior is not acceptable, or someone else (most likely a big government corporation) is going to come in and do it FOR us.

Remember, freedom of speech is a double edged sword. You can say what you want, but that doesn't mean that you can't suffer consequences if what you say is designed to hurt someone else. Harassment, bigotry, sexual assault, misogyny, etc are unacceptable behavior EVERYWHERE. It's not acceptable to "get away" with it on the internet, and we need to start making it clear that we're not gonna let a bunch of jerks ruin online experiences for the rest of us just to get a cheap "lol."

Guys, this is why we can't have nice things.

Sources: www.newstatesman.com/blogs/int… www.escapistmagazine.com/news/…
  • Listening to: Escapist Podcast
  • Reading: tumblr
  • Watching: Futurama
  • Playing: Super Mario Bros 3D Land
  • Eating: Jaffa Cakes
  • Drinking: English Breakfast Tea
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Just for fun I thought I'd do a rundown of the most common forms of humor, their definitions, and examples. This is not a complete list by any means, but they are a list of many forms of humor and literature discourse which often get confused of mixed up.

Parody
An imitative work created to mock, comment on or trivialize an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of satiric or ironic imitation.

Example: The movie "Airplane" is a parody of 1970's disaster movies. Many of Weird Al's music videos are parodies of other more famous music videos.

Pastiche
A work of visual art, literature, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.

Example: The movie "Super 8" is a pastiche of 1980's adventure films, specifically imitating the style of Stephen Spielberg's early career, because it celebrates and embraces the style unironically.

Pastiche and Parody are often confused because they both involve imitation, but the easiest way to distinguish the two is this: Pastiche embraces the imitation through general affection for the source material, whereas Parody is meant to mock and make fun of the source material.

Satire
Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon and as a tool to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.

Example: The movie "Starship Troopers" is a satire of fascism and fascist war propaganda. Likewise the movie "Sucker Punch" is a satire of the supposedly empowered female sex symbol in geek culture. Both address specific ideas and attempt to say something about them in a rather critical fashion.

Poe's law (named after its author Nathan Poe), says that an Internet adage reflecting an idea without a clear indication of the author's intent, makes it difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism. I believe this is why satire is so difficult for people on the internet to grasp, because a lot of satire revolves around being seeped in a specific mindset that, while designed to mock or say something more about the given subject, is often seen at face value and the broader subtext is ignored.

Irony
The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Example:The Titanic was promoted as being unsinkable, but the ship sank on its maiden voyage.

Cynicism
An inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others

Example: You can be cynical about the successfulness of the US Congress to actually achieve a goal.

Sarcasm
The use of language which, on the surface appear to be appropriate to the situation, but are meant to be taken as meaning the opposite in terms of face management. The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal inflections.

Example: Do I REALLY need to give you an example?
  • Mood: Bemused
  • Listening to: Escapist Podcats
  • Reading: Game of Thrones
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: King Arthur's Gold
  • Eating: Hamburgers
  • Drinking: Earl Grey Tea
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New SYAC Up!
Hey guys, new strip for SYAC is up today and we've added a new character! Come check it out! syacartoonist.com/ There will likely be a couple new episodes going up in the next few days as we introduce this new character and what he's about.

CGI Zelda Movie Shut Down... 6 Years Ago

Imagi Animation Studios, the company responsible for the CGI Astro Boy and TMNT movies, made a 1 minute test reel to show to Nintendo trying to pitch for a Legend of Zelda movie. The pitch made in 2007 was ultimately turned down by Nintendo, likely due to Nintendo being extraordinarily squeamish about letting an American animation company handle one of their properties after the abysmal failure of the live action Super Mario Bros movie. And hopes that this project would ever be looked at again were rendered null and void when the american branch of the animation company was shut down back in 2010.

But the good news for everyone is that you can see this 1 minute pitch reel Imagi showed Nintendo now online after it got leaked recently. Keep in mind this was just a pitch, not actual movie footage and designs could've changed over the course of production (and it also looks like they were using assets from their TMNT movie to help). So enjoy the demo for what could've been The Legend of Zelda's first big budget movie.

The Omni

I want this... with Minecraft. I want to exercise while playing video games and avoiding creeper deaths. This is the closest thing to a holodeck that I've seen thus far. Now all they need to do is add Disney's aireal tactitle feedback system ( www.gizmag.com/disneys-aireal-… ) to it and we'd have a working prototype for one of the most immersive holodeck experiences EVER! The future is SOON!
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Remember a few weeks back when I asked if anyone wanted to join me in a Minecraft survival PVP game? Well, I recorded some of my gameplay with everyone and made a simple video. It's been uploaded to the Fresh Epic's youtube channel and you can watch it right here:



I've been wanting to try and set up a Minecraft series of videos with other Fresh Epic members like Dayvi and Humon, but setting it all up has proved to be a little more complicated and time consuming than I thought... so I just started recording my own experiences. I'm not very good at PVP, but I enjoyed making the video and hope to make more.

If you've got some suggestions on what either I or other Fresh Epics artists could do/play in Minecraft or whatever, leave them below. Also, thumb up and like the video if you enjoyed it.
  • Mood: Optimism
  • Listening to: Yogscast Tekkit Series
  • Reading: tumblr
  • Watching: Doctor Who
  • Playing: Minecraft: Tekkit
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  • Drinking: English Breakfast Tea
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If ever you bring up Disney in a conversation, people immediately recite tired old issues with the company that haven't been true for a long time. For example, complaining about the excess of half-assed sequels. That was part of Michael Eisner's regime. When he left the studio the quality Disney was producing suddenly skyrocketed considerably. Likewise the excessive merchandising and branding of Disney related products has also ceased to be as all-consuming now that Eisner is gone. In fact, a lot of the main issues people had with Disney during the 90's and early 2000's was a result of Eisner.

Since Eisner left, the Disney studio has done a REMARKABLE job in clearing their name of many of the atrocities they had committed during his regime. They promptly turned the animation department around and have even begun doing 2-D animated films again after Eisner said "no." Granted, at the moment 2-D is still in hiatus, but the situation isn't as dire as it use to be and there's still promise of a unique 2-D 3-D hybrid coming out eventually thanks to their award winning short Paperman.

It's frustrating to see people criticizing Disney for things they did 10-20 years ago when they're not doing those things now. Especially since a lot of the "bad" things associated with Disney (like all the dirty subliminal messages in their cartoons) were false accusations to begin with started by religious groups trying to get funding in the activism racket.

Bottom line, Disney of 2013 is entirely different from the Disney of 2003. So why is everyone freaking out now? Because Disney is closing the doors to Lucas Arts.

Link to the Article: kotaku.com/disney-shuts-down-l…

As we all know, Star Wars was recently bought for an obscene amount of money by Disney, taking the creative reigns away from George Lucas (thank god). In that deal came Lucas Arts, a game company that has a long and prestigious history of great games. However, despite how great those older games were... the studio hasn't really produced anything worthwhile in a LONG time. In fact that last game they produced was Star Wars Kinect which was universally panned and hated.

Disney has looked over Lucas Arts, determined that they're not worth the funding (which isn't surprising given how much they just spent acquiring the rights to Star Wars), and has promptly shut the studio down. 150 employees were laid off, and 2 promising Star Wars games were canceled in the process. Naturally people are freaking out, but dear god people... read between the lines.

First off, Lucas Arts will still be around, just in the form of a licensing name. It's not like any of the original programers who made those classic games are still there. They've all gone on to do bigger better projects. And there will ALWAYS be more Star Wars games. Disney is not trying to kill your precious fandom.

Second, the two games that were canceled might still eventually see the light of day. As I understand it, one of the title was very close to being done and was receiving positive attention. Just because the studio is closed, doesn't mean Disney can't still have a 2nd party come in and do the final tweaking on the game and release it under the Lucas Arts brand (which is probably what they will end up doing).

Third, anyone who listens to the news in the video game industry knows that this is a COMMON TACTIC. Companies fire employees, and even whole teams, all the damn time. This isn't anything new. Just as an example: This past week the team responsible for the Tomb Raider revival was fired. Yes, it's a douchy business method, but stop acting surprised, please.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm just getting really sick of the reflexive hatred against Disney for doing what all other businesses do openly and without shame. You're still getting a whole new trilogy of Star Wars movies, plus movies set in the Star Wars universe being directed by big name directors that will likely be epics. Disney doesn't want to kill Star Wars, they want to make sure it flourishes and thrives for their benefit. Axing a studio that, although had a history of good games, hadn't been producing anything worthwhile in ages seems to me to be a fairly standard surgical business decision.

So grow up people... this is not the end of the world. Stop freaking out. Stop trying to sensationalize something that's not that sensational.
  • Listening to: Escapist Podcat
  • Reading: Gamefaqs
  • Watching: Intently
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Yes
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Sorry Mario Bros
Say what you will about Anita Sarkeesian, you gotta admit that people do take note of what she says for good or ill. In this piece of news, it's for the good.

As you might already know, in her latest video she outlined a simple "damsel frees herself" video game. Nothing too spectacular but it showcased how one can subvert the typical trope and make a strong female character out of it. While many were quick to criticize her for not making the game herself (given her kickstarter success), others took a more direct approach and actually made a game in 2 weeks.

The game is called "Sorry Mario Bros," and the plot is that Princess Peach decides to rescues herself by leaving Bowser's castle in world 8-4. You progress right to left through familiar, but slightly altered, original Mario Bros. worlds working your way backwards towards world 1-1. Along the way you can take detours and use Peach's float ability to reach hidden areas and collect "princess coins." There are 10 coins in the game and they are often well hid, giving you incentive to take your time and roam these redesigned version of classic levels.

The game is humorous too, as you'll pass Mario on his way to rescue you while you're stomping goombas and traversing through levels he's already cleared. It's the little touches like that that make this sort of game more than just a quick gimmick. It is a rather short game, the controls are a little slippery, and the graphics are modified to be recognizable but not exact (probably to avoid any copyright infringements), but outside that it's still a very admirable attempt and I'm sure we'll see more like it soon!

The game is available for FREE on Mac, PC, and Linux systems and can be found here: www.thewildeternal.com/2013/07…

PS: Sorry about all the journals recently... it's been busy!
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So I was watching Pacific Rim for the 50th time the other day and it suddenly dawned on me. Mako Mori is Samus Aran.

As you are all probably aware, I’ve taken a lot of heat in the past for supporting Metroid: Other M, a revolutionary Wii game that had a very unfortunate English translation. The main bulk of Other M’s story focuses on Samus Aran taking orders from her former boss Adam Malcovich as they explore a derelict space station. Her complicated relationship with Adam is a central aspect to Samus’s character, but for reasons that still baffle me, the gaming communities have pretty much ripped to shreds their relationship as being “weak” and “disempowering towards female characters.”

I’ve explained in the past why I disagree with that assessment, but let’s try something else here. Let’s compare Samus Aran to one of the recent pinnacles of strong female characters in FILM: Pacific Rim’s Mako Mori.

Story Parallels
Mako Mori is a capable fighter who was traumatized as a kid by a monster destroying her family and city. She comes under command of an experienced commander who she has a great deal of respect for and follows his orders explicitly, even if she disagrees with them. At one point she is so overtaken by fear she almost hurts other people, as she recalls a traumatic experience. In the end she is able to complete her job after her mentor sacrifices himself.

Samus is a capable fighter who was traumatized as a kid by Ridley who destroyed her family and city. She comes under command of experienced commander Adam Malcovich whom she has a great deal of respect for and follows his orders explicitly, even if she disagrees with them. At one point she is so overtaken by fear she almost gets a crew member killed, as she recalls a traumatic experience. In the end, Samus is able to complete her job after Adam sacrifices himself.

Analysis
I think the key difference between Mako and Samus, however, is that Mako actually mentions respect, while Samus only heavily implies it. Mako is seen as empowering because she respects her commander and listens to him regardless of weather or not she agrees, whereas Samus is seen as a “weak” character because she follows the orders of a commander even when it puts her in danger. It doesn’t matter if Samus respects Adam or not, it’s seen as blind ignorance for her character to agree to follow his advice. They are both essentially the same coin, but seen from opposing sides.

Personally, the only real issue I had with Metroid Other M was the poorly translated script and acting. Outside that (which honestly is about on par with MOST video game acting and writing anyway) the game plays phenomenally, has some nice twists, is exciting, full of secrets, and is a joy to explore. I’ve never felt that the game actively destroys a character who previously had next to NO personality. In the absence of characterization, the gaming community filled in their own, and when Other M slightly contradicted this collectively perceived personality they threw a tantrum.

And this is backed up by Nintendo themselves. Nintendo Treehouse producer Nate Bihldorff stated that the scene depicting Samus' encounter with Ridley "is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. People who call out that scene as anything but empowering are kind of missing the point". He added that "Samus’ story — her voice, her motivations, everything about her — has largely been a matter of individual perception, especially in the US, where people haven’t read any of the official manga related to her childhood."

I find it rather hilarious that Mako is seen as strong and powerful, yet Samus is seen as weak and helpless (despite all evidence to the contrary). They are, in essence, the exact same character with even the same backstories.

I’m sure many of you will disagree but I just thought about this recently and find it quite fascinating as a rorschach test on female empowerment in media.
  • Mood: Daily Needs
  • Listening to: Beyond - Daft Punk
  • Reading: The Art of Frozen
  • Watching: Pacific Rim
  • Playing: Metroid: Other M
  • Eating: Mac 'n Cheese
  • Drinking: Water
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