7/6/2020

Holy shit, it’s been a little while. I meant to have some posts up on here, but I was way too fucking busy with life, so uh, I didn’t. Plus a lot of recent events put me in a bad mood, and I didn’t really feel like making another angry post. I’m a lot less busy/upset now, so here I go.

I don’t remember the context of it, but I was having a conversation with a friend about “light” trauma. I don’t mean trauma in the sense of abuse or seeing a dead body or anything. I mean “trauma,” in the sense of walking into a room during the worst part of a horror movie as a kid. Or, probably the most relatable one if you’re in my age group, turning the page in any volume of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and getting an eyeful of Stephen Gammell’s even-as-an-adult unsettling artwork.

the picture that gave every millennial nightmares

There’s always at least one piece of media, whether it be a movie, book, TV show, video game, that you can look back at fondly and say, “yeah, this scared the fucking shit out of me as a kid!” Sometimes it’s something that, in retrospect, was kind of stupid. For me, it was the poster for Les Misérables. I could not see that poster on the street, or in a commercial, without completely going hysterical and crying. I could not for the life of me tell you why, exactly, this was the case, but it was.

I guess when you’re only five years old, and your eyes and brain haven’t fully developed yet, any otherwise innocuous image can be absolute visceral horror.

Then you have stuff that I absolutely should not have seen as a kid. For example: to any parents who are reading, don’t let your 7-year old rent a copy of Splatterhouse 2 from the video store. That’s not a good idea.

Also maybe don’t let your kids watch MTV. Probably shouldn’t let them watch that bullshit now, but definitely not in the mid-90s. The time period where MTV was actually willing to be experimental with its programming, mostly in regards to its animation. Of course, I watched a lot of Beavis and Butt-Head. No, it was not scary. I was way too young to understand most of the jokes, instead laughing at two idiots calling each other “fartknocker” and then getting into a fistfight. Aeon Flux? Way too complex for my simple brain to handle at the time. At that age, you can’t even spell “surreal,” let alone watch some high-concept animation full of it.

Then there was The Maxx.

The Maxx absolutely should have been right up my alley. A cartoon based on a comic book character? A character that looks like every other badass anti-hero of the day? Of course, I hadn’t actually read the books first. The Maxx, simply put, is a story of horrifically traumatized people, one of them an amnesiac who believes himself to be a super-hero, dealing with life in the big city, as well as a serial rapist with magic powers constantly stalking them. That shit is not for kids. In addition to the extremely heavy subject matter, Sam Kieth’s dreamlike art style can create some really fucked up looking visuals, which were recreated to the dot in the animated series.

I rewatched all 13 episodes yesterday (episodes are about ten minutes a piece). They hold up really well. I found the show while digging around on Soulseek, because YouTube and even the almighty Internet Archive were no help in looking up classic MTV animation (though the IA does have Liquid Television quick click this before Chuck Wendig gets it shut down). Adult me recommends it.

Back on topic, though, holy fucking shit did this show ever take a toll on my small brain. I could have, you know, stopped watching after episode 2 or 3. But no, I watched every last one as a kid. I was not a smart child.

And even if I were to stop watching, MTV’s advertising department made sure you knew that The Maxx existed. In their campaign to promote the second half of the series, the commercial opened with a severed fucking head.

A bit of context: in episode 2, the primary antagonist, Mr. Gone, is killed, via his head getting cut off. However, due to his mystic powers and ability to travel between dimensions, he’s still able to exert his will, and gets his head sent to the apartment of the woman who killed him several episodes later. Now, because this is a rotting body part, the smell is bad enough that she discovers the package his head is in, and opens it, to her horror.

Now, before I continue, I want you to imagine something here. It’s 1995. You’re about 8-9 years old. You come home from school, and you turn on your TV in your bedroom. Because you’re impressionable and doubly susceptible to marketing, you turn on MTV. You’re watching some music videos. Maybe you’re watching Nirvana’s acoustic cover of “The Man Who Sold The World” (for my money, one of the greatest live performances of all time). About 2 or 3 videos play, before it’s time for a commercial break. You don’t think much of it; sometimes commercials tell you about something you want to watch, or toys you want for Christmas. This one, though, opens with this:

Be sure to watch new episodes of “The Maxx,” only on MTV!

It’s funny. I feel like I’m coming across as a media watchdog crusader, asking someone out there to please think of the children, because I definitely should not have been allowed to watch this. But I suppose I should also be thankful, because being exposed to all this weird, terrifying shit as a kid had a pretty direct influence on my art, and overall aesthetic choices. So uh…

…thanks?

internet seclusion

Been a while since my last post. A lot has happened in the IRL since then, which has kept me very busy. Busy with things that frankly, the internet doesn’t need to know about. It’s nothing bad, but it’s no business of certain segments of the internet.

I’ve also been in a lot of physical pain as of late. Serious back pain that’s kept me up all night, in some cases even considering calling an ambulance, which I definitely cannot afford to do. My mobility issues with my knees and ankles have been acting up more than normal, barely able to walk the last couple weeks without wishing I was dead with every step I took. On top of that, I have a really shitty immune system that leaves me sick a lot, so even if I could, it’s still not a good idea to go out into large groups of people while the worst global pandemic since AIDS kicked off in the 80s is happening.

Needless to say, it’s been three weeks of stress and pain. I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m all beat up, covered in cuts and bruises and rashes that my allergies have caused me to break out into. I’ve been swarmed with paper work and phone calls and meetings with guys in suits to get real life shit worked out. I’ve barely had good internet; hell, didn’t even have power most of the weekend. I’ve been fucking busy.

These preceding paragraphs were to help illustrate the point of this post: in that, at least for some time, you’re only going to be seeing or hearing from me on this web site. No social media bullshit. Twitter has done everything in its power to drive every trans artist/activist worth their salt off the platform. The break-up of Black Dresses was the last straw for me, so I took a hike from that bigot-ridden sinking ship. The Mastodon “Fediverse,” something I would have sung the praises of last month, has since degenerated into an ableist shithole where rich white kids have spent the last three weeks yelling at every disabled person they can find for not “pulling their weight” when it comes to anti-fascist activities in American. In other words, calling disable people racist for having the audacity to take a break and play Animal Crossing for 10-20 minutes, instead of turning Super Saiyan and murdering every cop in the world with a sick-ass Kamehameha or some shit. Daring to have a personal life; to try and find some semblance of joy in this world, instead of becoming a human news ticker broadcasting a 24/7 feed of human suffering makes you a monster, apparently. At least in the eyes of performative, clout-chasing jerk-offs who got their concept of “justice” from a My Little Pony shipping blog on Tumblr back in 2011. And one of the people leading this charge literally said a year ago that places like Kiwi Farms “provided a good service,” so you know that this shit is all being done in good faith.

Just because someone is not talking about something all the time does not mean that they stopped caring about it, or that they never cared about it, or that they support the exact opposite position. Sometimes, it’s not about certain people, or even certain groups of people, putting in their two cents. Black Lives Matter means Black Lives Matter, motherfucker, not, “white people need to feel good about themselves in the most self-righteous way possible.” Something I learned long ago, when the stakes were significantly lower than they are now, is that you are not going to change the world by Posting Online. If screencapping Ian Miles Cheong everyday and saying “imagine being this much of a douchecanoe, ya’ll” actually solved racism, the world would look like this:

But it doesn’t. It’s on fucking fire. Yelling at people for having broken bodies and immune systems that could turn them into a living chemical weapon that will definitely not help Black people accomplishes nothing, especially when the opposition walks around with guns and lung-destroying tear gas. Who would I be helping in that situation? Nobody! Have I at least donated money to bail funds and programs centered on helping Black people? More than once! Do I wish I could give more? Of course! Do I wish I had legs that worked and a body that doesn’t break down like a used car so I could go out and do my part to dismantle centuries of unjust cruelty via my use of sick wrestling moves? Hell yeah! But realistically speaking, there’s only so much I can do. Only so much other people can do. And I don’t bring up giving what money I can as a way to feel good or to prove some sort of “cred.” I don’t need applause for helping someone; that’s the bare minimum that should be expected of you. It would be like me needing Twitter likes because I washed the dishes or took out the trash. These are just things that you do.

People who have actually protested, donated, or at least tried to help are not the ones harassing people for nearly a fucking month now. Which says a lot about the shitty nature of performative activism. Another thing I learned long ago is that I can’t change the world on my own, but I can maybe change the world for others by being a better friend. Someone who will listen. Maybe someone who can provide a light-hearted distraction for my PoC friends/followers, rather than an endless display of images reminding them just how cruel the world can be for non-white people. To my fellow white people: fucking shut the fuck up for five fucking minutes, motherfucker! It’s not about us. It never was, and it never will be. Video games and Star Wars lied to you.

Anyways. All of this just to say I’m sticking to my blog from now on. Or at least until people can learn to act like regular fucking human beings again. Maybe I’ll do a post about video games. I mean, I know that talking about games is more problematic than at least five Contrapoints videos according to people who think that Kiwi Farms provides a valuable service (but you know, racism is totally like, bad, and stuff), but whatever, it’s my site and I’ll post what I want.

trains rights

Thought I’d break things up a bit, and post about something that wasn’t about video games for once. I’ve been watching a lot more TV lately. Lots of shows about trains in Japan. Something I’ve discovered recently is that I really fucking like trains. Not so much the internal specs; what engines they run on or fast they go or whatever, but simply watching them cruise along the gorgeous countryside, or even in a bustling, well-lit city. Don’t really know why it tickles that feel-good part of my brain, but it’s incredibly relaxing to watch a train go by. Of course, I know about the magic of television editing, and that trains and their stations and their passengers have problems. Well aware of that last one. But the core of locomotion is appealing to me. Spending 20-40 minutes at a time watching them ride the rails is a no-brainer.

There are two shows in particular I’ve been binge-watching, the way normies do with Netflix Originals: Japan Railway Journal, and Train Cruise. Japan Railway Journal is more of a “news” type program, focusing on new lines and the economic side of things, with the occasional “let’s have fun actually riding these things.” And now that Russell Totten is no longer the host, the show lost its personality; everything just feels so fake and put-on now. With the older episodes, it felt more casual, with the cast cracking jokes and at least looking like they wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. Like, for fucks’ sake, episode 2 was filmed in a bar, not some stuffy news room. That’s pretty cool, actually.

These days, there’s not much of a reason to watch this one, unless you’re really into the business side of things (and don’t mind some episodes being blatant advertisements for private train companies), and not like me, where my whole thought process is “train go vroom.” Or maybe you want to get really angry at the fact that some company thought it was a good idea to charge seventy-five fucking dollars for this:

it’s a fucking slice of bread with some tomatoes on it!
pictured: a man enjoying his meal

Train Cruise, on the other hand, is the show to watch. It’s far more casual. A revolving door of hosts, each an actor or a musician, traveling down an entire line, all while showing off various sights/restaurants/museums/etc along the way.

It’s very clear that the hosts are having a good time on these trips, which in turn, is fun to watch.

There’s been at least one episode that was pretty serious. It covered how people and local businesses have recovered (or attempted to recover) from the devastating Tohoku tsunami of 2011. But for the most part, these are just some fun shows to watch and relax to. If you took a Benadryl for Summer allergies before watching, you will pass out mid-way through, thanks to all the lingering shots of scenery, and that ambient music in the background.

At risk of being one of those IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES dickheads, it is kind of a bittersweet thing watching all of these during quarantine time. Because with the way things are, travel is going to be a no-go for some time, if ever. I mean traveling between states, forget about international travel. Even though these shows are obviously edited for TV; riding a train is not nearly as magical in real life, it still looks like a lot of fun being able to go out into the world and see all the cool sights and eat at some hole-in-the-wall restaurant. I haven’t been able to do that in a number of years, and I might not be able to do that ever again. But at least I’ll be able watch these and live vicariously through the hosts, as sad as that honestly kind of sounds.

Tetsudo English is the YouTube channel where I’ve watching these. I’m sure there are plenty of other channel out there that can be found with a simple search.

sailor and the 7 ballz: hyper fighting

I’ve been continuing my quest of finally being able to chill the fuck out. Keeping my head down and trying to relax. So naturally, this means I’ve been spending a lot of time playing competitive fighting games.

giving alisa bosconovich the “k dash” look

Normally, that just means playing a bit of Tekken 7. I’ve said numerous times that it’s the only fighting game I’m even remotely skilled at. Me trying other games has resulted in disaster. Playing Street Fighter 4, for example, and getting destroyed by teleporting Seth players and Dee-Jay cross-ups, not knowing how to react. Then searching Google turned up fuck all, instead telling me how to do a Hadouken, something I’ve known how to do since I was 8 years old. So I would give up, uninstall the game, and then repeat the next year. This would happen in other games, like Guilty Gear or Dragon Ball or Marvel or whatever. So to have any skill in Tekken was nothing short of a miracle.

But, in playing other games with friends who know what they’re doing, I’ve actually been able to sit down and learn their mechanics. I’ve even been able to win a few times! Convincingly, even! Which is, you know, great.

But what I’ve really been digging on is Dragon Ball Fighter Z. Or Dragon Ball FighterZ? Whatever. The one with Goku in it.

What I’ve liked about it (aside from being, you know, good), is the feelings of nostalgia it brings. I have not watched an episode of Dragon Ball in over fifteen years. But when I did, it was a big deal. I don’t talk about it much these days, mostly because I don’t watch a whole lot of it anymore, but anime was the thing for me as a teenager. Especially on Saturday night. By that point, my home life had gotten a lot rougher, so going out was not really something I could do without there being problems afterward. As such, I spent a lot of time staying in. And I stayed in during the big anime push in the US. Anime on TV. Manga in bookstores. The internet was getting bigger and better, and fansites and fan communities were thriving. For a lonely kid in a broken home, watching anime on Cartoon Network and downloading Japanese Mega Drive ROMs was the most fun you could have.

And of course, Dragon Ball Z was at the forefront of that big push. Not that I had never seen the series before; parts of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z had aired on Fox a few years earlier (6 AM Saturday mornings). But now it was a different, much more impressionable time. Sure, I liked stuff like Sailor Moon, Gundam, and Cowboy Bebop. But this was a show about big dudes screaming at each other for 30 minutes. Every five episodes, they would actually hit each other! It was very compelling at the time.

Anyways. My Saturday nights would see me watching long blocks of anime on TV (with reruns of Forensic Files and WWE Velocity in-between), while looking at anime fansites/forums, and playing ROMs on my shitty eMachines. Now, I definitely spent a lot of time with the Mega Drive Sailor Moon (a really awesome side-scrolling brawler), and Treasure’s 4-player YuYu Hakusho, but I also spent an inordinate amount of time with DBZ: Bu Yu Retsuden. I say “inordinate” because the game fucking sucks. It looks like shit, sounds like shit, plays like shit; a cynically made shitshow designed to take money from naive Japanese children.

but hey, at least you could play as cell

Actually, Dragon Ball games of that time were all fucking garbage. That shitty NES game. The Super Butoden series on Super Famicom. The bad RPGs. Except for one, one very good standout. That was Hyper Dimension. That game was sick.

i like cell

So getting into DBFZ is giving me all these warm and fuzzies from a different, maybe not better, but still formative time in my life. All the big screaming dudes are here, shooting huge fireballs at each other and obliterating mountains in the middle of an empty field somewhere. Makes me want to reinstall WinAmp, put on some skins that make it hard as fuck to see any of the text, and listen to some Malice Mizer while playing it. It’s great. Fighting games are great. Dragon Ball Z is great, at least in theory. Original Dragon Ball is actually great, and you should watch that.

animal crossing

Sorry for a lack of updates these past few weeks. A whole lot of shit went down. The five year anniversary of a shitty, transphobic harassment campaign that completely fucked my reputation up, and ruined the lives of my friends. Some IRL issues popping up with estranged family members. An endless news cycle of doom. Generally having mental problems. A lot of things. I guess fate decided that I was overdue for a breakdown. As such, I wasn’t really in the mood for things. Didn’t want to write a bunch of super angry stuff on here; I’d like to think that part of this site is over, but I also wasn’t in the mood to sit down and write super positive things. But now I am! So here we go.

Like seemingly everyone else on Earth right now, I’ve been playing a lot of the new Animal Crossing. I was pumped for New Horizons. I played the shit out of Wild World, until my DS started giving me problems. And then I played the shit out of New Leaf, until my 3DS’ analog nub started giving me problems. Nintendo’s handhelds used to be so much more durable. Anyways. I’ve been playing New Horizons, and loving the shit out of it. But this post is not meant to be a review of the game (REVIEW: it’s really good). Rather, this is more of a loose diary/showing off designs/an excuse to make another music playlist.

So, this is me. Standing here in my living room, with my TV, my tarot set, my Nintendo Switch, a painting of Slimegirl, and the covers of every Black Dresses album. I have other rooms, but they’re not really worth showing off at the moment. Too small, not enough cool shit in them.

Oh, and the Space Invaders shirt was made by me. I’ll be posting all of my designs later.

A cool things about New Horizons is that, holy fuck, other people actually play this fucking game online now. Wild World? Forget it. New Leaf? You had to perform arcane rituals to get other people into your town. New Horizons? Pretty sure I’ve seen my friends running around more than the neighbors who actually live here.

This is me at my friends Gabi’s house. She’s the one with the Nintendo 64 hat, and I’m the one with the dumb expression on my face. This was how her shit looked almost a month ago, I should go back and get some shots of how good her island looks now.

And here I am with my other good friend, Charlotte. We were running around and fishing at 3 A.M. Why were we fishing at three in the morning? Well, mind your fucking business, that’s why!

I put this cool zen garden in front of my house. I like how rain actually causes the rocks to get darker. Good job, Nintendo!

My neighbors say things. Often cute things. And sorry, Keaton, but I sleep in a big bed with my wife.

They also like to hang around the town square and sing, or do yoga, or even aimlessly Naruto-run.

I attempted to give myself ICP face paint, but it doesn’t work. As such, I take it back FUCK THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!! WOOP WOOP!

So that’s been the last month or so of Animal Crossing. I’d like to do more of these in the future. These have just been random screencaps I’ve taken. Next time, I might even have a structure or theme for these!

But in the meantime, here’s my custom designs:

Now the big part of this post: music! I’ve been wanting to make a playlist of songs that fit the whole concept of living on an island. Good weather, good friends, good times. That sort of thing. I was originally going to have 24 songs on here, one for each hour of the day, but uhhhh no. I cut it down to 12 tracks: 6 to represent the day time, and 6 more for night.

3/17/2020

Haven’t done a blog post in a bit. I’ve been meaning to do a write up on why I love Space Invaders as much as I do, but it’s been kind of hard to put together, mostly the format and how I want to go about it. So fuck it, I’ll just make a post for postings sake, as I’ve been way too quiet on here as of late.

It’s been fairly uneventful over here. Plugging away at my work; getting more work done on this Patreon-exclusive game, with bug testing and sound composition making things take longer than I’d like. Also been drafting up Girl Zone #3, the art/poetry zine that I’d like to make a monthly thing.

In-between all that, I’ve been dealing with my brain. I know I’ve been holding back on opening up like this, but I think I can do it once in a while: every so often, you’ll be doing fine, able to manage your symptoms with a nice bit of THC. Then you wake up one morning, and everything is bad and you want to crawl into a hole and wait for the world to die. Even if you vent privately, you still feel bad for having felt that way, and having your negative emotions take over like that, so then you spend a couple days feeling like shit about yourself. I’m currently doing okay.

I finally got a new Saturn controller. The ones that Retro-Bit make are fucking shit, to be honest, falling apart after a few months because they’re built with cheap plastic. So instead, I spent an extra $10 and got an 8BitDo M30. Only had it for a few weeks, but it seems to work a hell of a lot better. Time will tell if the D-Pad breaks after you look at it too hard.

Taken the time to get back into all the Sega Mega Drive/SG-1000 and PC-Engine stuff I’d been unable to play for several months. Need to start downloading some Saturn ROMs soon.

Really, that’s kind of been about it. Been pretty boring while doing my best to stay indoors because of all the shit going around. Maybe next time I’ll have something more exciting to talk about.

Fuck it, I’ll post a song too.

i hate camera- the bird and the bee

compilations

Let me begin this with a, I don’t know, a confession: I originally wanted to do a post on Space Invaders, and why I love Space Invaders and why that little game is incredibly important to me. But something happened yesterday that took my attention, and I felt like it was important enough to talk about instead.

Yesterday, I spent $4 on this bundle of games. I mostly got it just so I would have The King of Fighters XIV in my collection, if I ever got the hankering to play it and not have to drop sixty big ones on it. One of the other games in the bundle was the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection. I was a bit curious about it, if only because I had been informed that Ikari Warriors and Guerrilla War had a new control set up to deal with the fact that, because of their unique “twist-joystick” controls, were pretty much impossible to emulate without being a real pain. I’ll spare you a big review and say that, at least on PC, the controls are fucking shit. Characters spin at the lightest touch, sometimes not being able to face certain directions, or straight up stop moving for no reason. Guerrilla War is already hard enough without having to fight the controls, too. Let me Hail The Heros Of The Glorious Revolution, dammit!

But that wasn’t the worst thing about it. Though this complaint is more directed at game compilations in general. Even if the games themselves are ported well, the most you get in terms of extras are usually some concept art and a sound test. Fucking nothing else. For things that are supposed be celebrations of classic games, there’s not much of a party going on. Doesn’t matter if it’s SNK, or all those terrible Sega compilations that have come out over the years (though shout out to M2; their Switch ports are amazing), they fail to fill the hole left by the greatest retro game compilation ever made. Something that nobody, even the company that actually made it, has managed to surpass or even match in twenty years.

I’m talking about the Namco Museum Collection on the Playstation.

What made these five compilations so sick was that you didn’t just get all these classic arcade games on one disc. No, you also got these entire 3D virtual “exhibits” that showed off various aspects of the games in question. Yeah, you got your artwork and advertisements, but you also got scans of rare merchandise that’s no longer available, pictures of the PCB boards, breakdowns of scoring systems or game mechanics. Later entries had Japan-only promo videos. All of these things were shown off in a very cutesy, low-polygon style, rather than a cold menu that felt tacked on.

Now, just as something of a disclaimer: I don’t want to throw around the “L” word. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as a “Lazy Developer.” Limited budgets, time constraints, publisher meddling, Konami losing the fucking finished source code for Silent Hill, can all lead to a disappointing or even outright terrible end result. Namco clearly had the time, money, and vision to put these five discs together, and I’m incredibly grateful for it.

I won’t do a big breakdown of each of these, as they mostly follow the same format: a handful of old arcade games, each reprogrammed for the Playstation (so these aren’t emulated ports, for better or for worse), and each with their own cute exhibit and personalized “game room” housing the arcade cabinet, all of which are done in that amazing PSX-quality that still holds up today.

Volume 4, though, is my favorite. This is when Namco decided to get weird with it. They had already put various versions of Pac-Man, Galaga, Pole Position, Xevious, and all these other games out there. So with volume 4, you get off-beat and even outright bizarre shit. Ordyne, a relatively obscure shooter that was Namco’s attempt at combining Fantasy Zone with Gradius. Pac-Land, not a bad or even all that strange a game; it served as a direct influence for Super Mario Brothers, but when you think “Pac-Man,” you don’t think “Pac-Man taking a leisurely stroll down the street, putting a fairy in his hat, then running home, now with the power to levitate.” Assault, a top-down shooter where you control both the left and right treads of your tank with the d-pad and face buttons, respectively (continuing with my trend of comparing these games to other games, Assault is like a mechanical predecessor to Katamari Damacy). Assault Plus, which is an updated Assault that’s actually hidden in this compilation. The Return of Ishtar is an action-RPG where you control two characters at once, which is less awkward than Assault, somehow.

Then there is the crown jewel of Namco Museum Volume 4: Genpei Toumaden.

Genpei Toumaden, if I were to describe the game to you, would sound pretty normal. You are a samurai, brought back from the dead, to save Japan from various creatures in Japanese folklore, as well as Japanese historical figures. You move left-to-right, you run, jump, and swing your sword at things. Playing it, though? Genpei Toumaden is a fucking dissociative nightmare in video game form. The music is weird. The graphics are creepy (and surprisingly detailed for the 80s). Level design is haphazard at best, with alternate paths with no real on-screen indication of what you did or where you’re going. Some levels even have Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, the game’s antagonist, appear in the background, larger than the mountains in the level, and try to smash you with a paper fan. I don’t want to sound like one of those “they must have been on drugs when they made this!” assholes, because fuck them, but this is still a strange game, even in English.

Keep in mind, despite me maybe making this game sound appealing, it plays like fucking shit, and it’s hard as balls on top of that. I have never been able to finish it in all the years I’ve tried. At the end of the day, it’s an 80’s arcade game, and it wants your money. So it’s not an overlooked gem, but I’m still endlessly fascinated by the game and its existence.

Plus, the exhibit is really cool, with a couple of hidden things for you to find by looking around carefully.

But I do kind of want to mention the other exhibits. Mostly Ordyne and Pac-Land.

Ordyne’s is cute. It’s made to resemble a fast-food restaurant in the style of Ordyne’s in-game shop. And if you look carefully, you may notice on the menu that smiles are always free!

Pac-Land? It’s just Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man chilling out on a beach with the Pac-Land fairy, a cocktail arcade cabinet, and a boombox playing a really peaceful remix of the Pac-Land theme.

It is the most chill thing. It is, as the kid’s say, aesthetic as fuck. Seeing this one scene in an old issue of Tips & Tricks way back when made me want this game so fucking bad. Kind of a weird tic I have, but I find hub worlds to be the most peaceful, calming in video games. This probably dates all the way back to playing Chrono Trigger and making it to the End of Time. The Playstation really added to that, as my concept of a calming space in a game got really generous, to the point of including the Library from Echo Night, or this one very particular part of the map in Bushido Blade, in addition to normal shit like the town in Mega Man Legends or Brave Fencer Musashi. I was a very weird kid. Either way, Namco Museum, especially the later entries, are like crack for my weird brain. I can walk around these miniature dioramas of a video game, looking at things, even interacting with them in some cases. The games themselves are almost secondary, even though most of them are absolute classics worthy of the price on their own.

It’s just too fucking bad that Namco Museum Encore lacked pretty all of this cool stuff, which is even worse when you consider that that compilation included goddamn Rolling Thunder. Or that subsequent Namco Museums on other consoles, even the Switch, don’t have the virtual museum. The Switch one includes, again, Rolling Fucking Thunder The Best Arcade Game Namco Has Ever Made, and Splatterhouse. Splatterhouse! I’m not even a big fan of that game, but a digital exhibit for it would be amazing! You could even have it be less of a museum piece and more of a haunted house! But no. Unfortunately, we are no longer allowed to have nice things.

Honorable mention for the second best classics compilation goes to Sonic Jam on the Sega Saturn. It’s second best because the ports/emulation/whatever fucking suck, and the games sound and run worse than the original Genesis games. But at least it has those really cool animated movies, commercials, the Sonic timeline, and Sonic World.

You could run around, picking up rings, launching off of springs, hitching a ride on Tails, doing small time trials (pick up X number of rings in this amount of time, etc), and finding codes and secrets for the actual Sonic games on the collection. It’s really cool, but I wish it wasn’t this excellent accoutrement for what is ultimately a big let down of a compilation.

In any case, Namco Museum. It is bar none the best compilation of games you could possibly play, so long as you stick to the initial five volumes.

nyla

Wrestling was on last night. I was sitting down in front of my tv, eagerly anticipating one match: the rematch between Nyla Rose and Riho. You may remember back in October when I got mad as hell at Nyla’s loss, because she didn’t just lose, but she lost via stupidity, which I thought was bullshit. On top of that, hot take: I don’t think Riho is any good. She has a terrible look, like a child pageant contestant walked down the wrong hallway and wound up in a wrestling ring, and her look of constant confusion doesn’t help. She botches all the time, maybe not on the level of Sin Cara at his peak, but she’s definitely not a smooth wrestler. She even fucked up the finish of the women’s four-way match in a spot with Hikaru Shida who is 1) really good and 2) speaks Japanese, just like Riho, so you can’t blame it on the language barrier. Riho has go-away heat with me. I understand that I’m in the minority on that, but that’s how I feel. Her and Britt Baker I cannot stand. All these great women on the AEW roster, and the faces of it are a 98-pounder who looks like a child and sucks in the ring, and the other looks like she would rather be in NXT and murdering promos in ways Ken Patera could only dream of.

Anyways. Rematch. Nyla won.

I literally screamed so loud that my neighbors had to come and check on me. I was in a Discord call, getting ready to record a new episode of Book of Megadrive, and I’m sure I killed my co-hosts hearing. I was so fucking pumped, dude. The match was great, and Nyla carried Riho to her best match in AEW.

This was an historic moment. A transgender woman of color won a title in a major American wrestling company. That’s fucking cool as shit. WWE will never do this. They would rather find a way to bury Baron Corbin alive with both world titles in his hands than let a trans person even get a whiff of the belt’s leather.

I realized not too long ago that I don’t like to talk about trans shit anymore. Talking about the feelings of powerlessness and misery don’t help me so much as they help shitheads “allies” jerk off to my inspiration porn. The only people I want jerking off to me are the dudes who call my phone sex line (or, you know, people I’m dating). Representation matters if you’re a child, but I’m 33 years old, that ship has long since sailed for me. That being said, holy fucking shit dude a trans woman won the title!

It’s a feel-good moment for someone like myself. To rub it in the face of every clown online telling me that Nyla isn’t ready, brother, as though Britt Baker is ready with her meandering promos where she spends more time talking about Tony Schiavone working at Starbucks instead of, you know, the wrestlers she is actively feuding with. It’s good to know that we don’t all have to suffer for our art. Every “successful” trans artist I know is flat broke and is only a star’s misalignment away from trying to kill themselves. I don’t know what Nyla’s contract gives her, or how big her payday was for working that episode of Dynamite, but it was certainly more than a $25 pittance from a guy who wants to look at her feet. I consider professional wrestling to be an art, and I consider art to be emotionally, but not financially, fulfilling. That Nyla gets to have both of those is fucking great. She absolutely deserves it.

Now to keep my fingers crossed that AEW doesn’t then proceed to book Nyla with a Rey Mysterio-level title reign. Nobody wants that.

monster hunter

When I haven’t been working on various art/game projects, I’ve found myself becoming addicted all over again to Monster Hunter. Specifically, the Switch port of Monster Hunter Generations that I picked up about a month ago.

Now obviously, this is not my first rodeo. I’ve been playing these games since the PSP days, when I got a copy of Freedom Unite at my old job. I played it for a bit, had no idea what I was doing, and put it away in my PSP case, going back to Mega Man Powered Up and that version of Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation Store. A few years later, I would get back into the game. Sort of. You see, this was before the days of fan wikis being so widespread, or YouTube tutorials that broke down every aspect of a game about five minutes after it comes out. I had no fucking clue how to play Monster Hunter. I ran around with a Long Sword, wildly swinging at things, wondering why evasive rolling didn’t work literally the same as in Demon’s Souls.

Cool thing here, while I’ve long since lost the old blog posts I made about MonHun, I still have the screenshots I took on my old PSP memory stick. Let’s take a look at them!

So, because I had in my head that this game was no different from Demon’s Souls. This included not giving a fuck about the armor I wore, to the point of going out and literally fighting in my underwear. If you are new to Monster Hunter: DO NOT DO THIS! You need those full armor sets so you can get the abilities they have. Another thing I didn’t bother with that you should do: UPGRADE YOUR ARMOR! You need that defense boost, too!

And I would eventually wise up but putting on a full set of armor. Just not uh, a full matching set.

kut-ku, velociprey, and bullfango armor does not work together

Needless to say, I had a hell of a time getting through a number of hunts. I didn’t know how armor worked. I didn’t know that eating before a hunt would give you stat boosts. I didn’t even know that hitting monsters with paintballs would mark them on your map! I didn’t know about hiring Felynes to help me in fights! I was a dumb fucking noob, for sure.

But what fucked me up the most? Hunting the Khezu.

This Eldritch looking worm thing kicked my ass so many times. I failed so many hunts. Keep in mind, this was before Monster Hunter had online play included. In this game, it was either local, or you learned how to get good. Well, slight correction: you could play online, through a third-party app on the Playstation 3 that was Japan-only (until the end of the system’s life anyway), and when you got on, you would find more people interested in playing Final Fantasy Dissidia than anything else. Bleh.

i eventually got one

As a result of my ineptitude, and the Khezu killing me a bunch, it ended up becoming (no pun intended) my white whale. In subsequent games, I would gun for Khezus as soon as I could, hunt them, then wear armor and carry weapons made from their parts.

Monster Hunter 4 on 3DS was the next game I played after MHFU, and this is exactly what I did. I even did the same when Red Khezus started to appear, with my hunter dressed head to toe in a bright pink rubber suit.

Quick tangent here: this will probably get me some heat, but can I just admit to thinking that the 3DS was not a good system? Like, it had great games that I spent a lot of time with (MonHun, Resident Evil, Animal Crossing, Megami Tensei), and it had a few neat features, but I feel like the system was plagued by too many games that tried to push the system to its limits, and did not succeed. I mean, I’ve never gotten very far in Pokemon Moon, because the battles are slow as shit, running at 5 FPS, because I didn’t go out and drop another $150 on a slightly better 3DS. Not nearly as fondly remembered by me compared to the previous generation’s DS and PSP. Plus for a system so reliant on online connectivity, it probably would’ve helped if it weren’t complete shit that lagged and disconnected if the wind was too strong that day.

As far as the original MH Generations went, I liked it, but I think by then I was so burnt out on MH4, and the awkward touch screen controls, and the bad internet, that I ended up not getting very far in it. Then I didn’t touch the series again until World came out. And World is amazing. A great game. But I feel like, in its desire to make the quality of life changes that it did, it kind of moved away from the spirit of Monster Hunter. It’s smooth, moves really quickly, and handles a lot of the pre-hunt prep for you. I find myself preferring the original slow, methodical pace, where getting ready for a hunt is just as important as the hunt itself. I like doing a little flex every time I heal. I like having to go from section to section on the map, instead of following the Dead Space line straight to the monster.

So I guess it’s a good thing I picked up MH Generations on Switch when it was on sale. It’s scratching all those itches. And holy shit, it really shows just how much better these games are on consoles, instead of hunched over, squinting at a handheld screen, with your hand in an awkward claw position to navigate both yourself and the camera. The online is actually not that bad, given the system it’s on. It is like night and day considering how much better Generations is on Switch than on 3DS, which ties back to my point about developers trying to make the 3DS do things it was clearly not meant to do.

what a difference seven years makes

I admit, I have been hooked on this game probably every day since I bought it. There’s always one more thing to do; one more part to collect to make a new weapon or piece of armor, or one more quest to finish to raise my Hunter Rank, or one more something. It is so fun.

My current problem is the amount of choice. I can’t decide on a weapon to stick with! Right now I’m bouncing back and forth between Hammers and Light Bowguns. Do I try out Dual Blades? Sword and Shield? Go back to Long Sword? They’re all so great, with their own pros and cons. Except for Insect Glaive. Fuck the Insect Glaive. Zoe’s shitty rapist ex (yeah, I know, I know, which one?) was always going on about how great that thing was when we all used to play MH4 together, so he killed that weapon for me. For all I know, it could be the best weapon, that suits my playing style to a T, but I don’t care. It’s ruined for me. But everything else? Reduces me to the most indecisive bitch on the planet.

The main reason I made this post, aside from waxing nostalgic about the PSP again, was to let/remind people how fucking good old-school Monster Hunter is. I informed one of the Discord groups I’m in that Generations was $20 a while back, and was met with “old Monster Hunter sounds like a nightmare!” Yeah, World is great, but there’s so much more satisfying weight and heft to the old games. What I’m saying is, if you’re my friend, you should be playing this with me. I’m tired of idiot randos knocking me out of combos while I’m trying to swing a hammer at a monster’s head. And plus, World doesn’t have Khezus in it, and that’s bullshit.

always wearing the khezu gear