5/29/2019: death of the auteur

Pretty much everyone in my social circles this morning has been talking about the new trailer for Death Stranding, the upcoming Kojima Productions game. And something I should not be surprised by, yet I was, was that literally every person who talked about it trashed it. To my particular part of the web, Death Stranding is a joke. As well it should be.

This is kind of a weird thing that needs some explaining here: I actually really like the Metal Gear series. I own all of them, and have gone through them multiple times to 100% completion (except MGS4, the reasons for which will be obvious to anyone who actually played MGS4). All that being said, I cannot fucking stand Hideo Kojima. He’s shown himself, through his work and his personality, to be a misogynist, a homophobe, a transphobe, and all sorts of other horrible shit. For every one good idea he has, he has about ten that are complete garbage. Like, yeah, Metal Gear Solid 2 is more profound these days because it was eerily accurate in its prediction of the internet being used as a tool for propaganda, and to perpetuate the rise of fascism. But then there’s also Policenauts, a game where the main character can sexually assault random women, and who stops in the middle of a gunfight to go on a rant about gay and transgender people being degenerate freaks. Metal Gear Solid 5 was an unfinished mess of narrative that contradicted itself, undid literal decades of plot, and outright forgot its own messages; commentary on the use of “detention facilities” and child soldiers took a backseat to a photosynthetic woman who needed to be mostly naked or else she would die from a lack of sunlight (never mind that Metal Gear already has a photosynthetic character who didn’t have this problem), and a meandering revenge story between two walking action figures named “Big Boss” and “Skull Face.”

I realize that I play all these games despite all of this because 1) MGS1 was a pretty formative game for myself and a lot of people in my generation, and I kind of need to see how that series ends, 2) there’s still a lot of goodwill being carried over from MGS2, and 3) when you’re surrounded by the best programmers, artists, sound and level designers in the business, your games will at least play well.

But through all of that, I don’t fucking care about Death Stranding. I’m tired. We’re all tired. Because the thing is: Metal Gear is done. That part of our lives is over. It’s not 1998 anymore, and we’ve all grown up. We have outgrown Hideo Kojima. Hell, we have outgrown the concept of the video game “auteur.” We all know by now that mainstream games are not made by a single person. For us, an auteur is someone who is willing to take all the credit. Some loudmouth asshole who thinks that without them, none of this is possible when in actuality, without all of this, they are not possible.

Remember when Kojima was fired from Konami? Remember when he showed up at whatever Geoff Keighley’s bullshit event is called? He got this grand pro wrestling entrance, complete with people in tears seeing him. His story of being a well off, successful producer getting fired from one major company, then immediately being snatched up by another major company so he can work on a well-funded, heavily marketed game featuring major Hollywood stars made him the biggest martyr in the history of games! Forget that this was all taking place while Gamergate was still very much in the headlines, and people who did not have a fraction of his notoriety were left twisting the wind. But Kojima really wanted us to feel bad for him.

What an asshole! I’m glad my friends are shitting all over his new project!

It’s a new era. So many creative people working on games, trying to make a go of things. It is frankly insulting to see so much time and attention being given to a man who is very clearly disgusted by our existence, and whose current game looks to be some cowardly, centrist, “the truth is in the middle” bullshit. And this isn’t just a Kojima thing, even though he’s the point of this post. You have so many of these men showing their asses on a frequent basis, but being forgiven because the games other people worked on that they take credit for are good. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kojima, or SWERY65 and his anti-union beliefs, or Matt Conn being an abusive sex predator, or Suda51 being ironically stuck in the past, or Cliff Bleszinski being Cliff Bleszinksi. There should not be a place for one man to be idolized and held to this demigod status while so many marginalized creators bust their ass and get fuck all in return. I don’t know if it’s something that will change anywhere besides the small bubbles and scenes that exist, but man, that would be fucking cool. Give a queer person, or anyone who isn’t just another cishet man Kojima’s budget, and watch them blow the world away with what they can do.

Until then, we should just maintain a healthy amount of skepticism at a group’s work being attributed to a single man. After all, Kojima once told us that given the right situation, the right story, anyone can be shaped into the hero.

ADDENDUM: the only auteur that should exist is John Romero, because he fucking rules.

retail memorabilia #2

Today’s piece of old merch is…this:

I’m still not entirely sure what it is. It’s promoting Killzone 2, which for the record, was fucking awful. I bought it because I wanted a second multiplayer game on my PS3 besides Metal Gear Online, and it was one of the few games on the system that had custom soundtrack support. That’s about it, it was trash otherwise.

Here’s the back.

It’s not an envelope, as there’s no brad on the back. And even if it had one, I doubt that the post office would let you send out a package with a space nazi on it.

And it can’t be a folder, because it’s way too thin to hold more than a few pages. So it’s just a thing that exists and sits in a storage box in my closet.


Well, that was pretty disappointing. So to make up for that, I’m going to tell you about a little something called the Retail Loyalty Quiz. Where I worked (and I imagine it would be the same for places like Gamestop and Wal-Mart, places where vendors would visit), you would be given a web link by the local Sony vendor when you meet them for the first time. The Sony vendor I dealt with was nice, even if she towed the company line to a degree that bordered on cult-like.

Anyways. The point of this site was that you could take a series of quizzes that tested your ability to sell Sony shit. And if you did well enough, you would get points that you could then use to order things like terrible merchandise and terrible games. I’ll get to that last bit in a while.

Now, I don’t remember the link to this page. And even if I did, I haven’t worked at that job since 2009, so I wouldn’t be able to log in in the first place. But luckily, I made sure to screenshot some of the questions they would ask you. You’ll see why.

They start off fairly benign. But then they get some weird fucking answers pretty soon after.

So, after answering all these questions about girls not playing games and buying a new PS3 with the mega smash hit ATV Offroad Fury and playing it through a cable hooked to my brain, I ordered a game. I can’t remember the whole selection of games, but I remember they were all shit. And they were all late-era PS2 games, as this was still during a time when Sony wanted to get that last push for the system before throwing all their support into the PS3, which really needed it (this was back when Giant Enemy Crab jokes were still the height of comedy). I ended up ordering the least shitty game, Tourist Trophy on the Playstation 2. I could have done a lot worse than a game Google informed me was pretty much Gran Turismo but with motorcycles.

It’s been 12 years now, Sony, and if you ever want to actually send me a copy of the game, that would be cool! There’s still a blank spot on my shelf for it!

If there’s one thing you could take away from coming to my web site, it’s this: Sony owes me a copy of Tourist Trophy on PS2.

what i’ve been playing 4/28/2019

First, let me start this post with a quick plug: in addition to playing games, I also made one. Go take a look.

A few weeks back, I installed a hybrid firmware on my Super Slim PS3. The main reason being a way to play Aquanauts Holiday 3 without needing to spend the $170 it goes for on eBay. And also to play all the Burnout Paradise DLC I never bought.

A couple of problems:

– I can’t actually find the damn ROM in the first place (thanks Nintendo!)

– I’m not actually technically proficient enough to get PKG Linker to work on my system, so the only non-legit game I’ve been able to play is Soul Calibur 2 HD, which I downloaded to make sure the hacking actually worked. The game itself fucking sucks, though.

So I said “fuck it” and just went back to playing the normal Spring/Summer playlist that I’ve been enjoying for the last several years.

After about nine years of owning the game, I’ve finally finished 3D Dot Game Heroes. The reason I stop is because in order to get the Sword of Moonlight (the best weapon in the game), you have to complete every single side quest, pretty much all of which are time-sensitive. And then if I put the game down for any number of reasons, I forget where I left off, and don’t feel like retracing all of my steps, so I quit or start a new game that I never finish.

This time, though, I made it a point to not play anything else until I was done with this game. And I did! I had this laser focus on every tedious, obtuse side quest, and got that damn sword and beat the game.

And yes, that is my OC Slimegirl as the main character. I’ll need to make some fixes to the animation, and then I could upload it to my 3D Game Heroes page.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Gran Turismo 6 before and after I finished 3DDGH. After some personal things in my IRL life (may write about that at some point), I “celebrated” by saving up enough fake money to buy a fake Ferrari.

I was real excited to tear up the raceway with it. Then I found out that the handling sucks. It oversteers at the slightest touch. Even with the tightest tires and suspension, it’s prone to fishtailing and even outright spinning out on really tight turns, regardless of how slow you’re going. It becomes less of a race with other drivers and more of a fight with the car itself. Not really worth the 450 grand. Can’t believe SEGA would lie to me about how fun Ferraris are.

Did manage to win a couple races with it, but I think this will just be a showcase in the garage from now on. For now, I’m back to Nissans and BMWs, screaming down the track to whatever sweet Summer time jam is playing on my PS3 hard drive.

Hideki Kaji- Tropical Girl

That’s about it for now. Probably try and knock out more of my PS3 backlog. May even do a new file in Hakuna Matata. Look forward to a new Retail Memorabilia post coming soon, and BUY THE GAME!!!!!!!

retail memorabilia #1: the art of resistance 2

Ten years ago, I was in a management position for a Target store (not the big boss, but one of the many smaller bosses). My role was to run the right side of the store, dealing with the electronics, the movies, the books, and the video games. As such, I would be given random shit from companies. Little bits of merchandise you couldn’t get anywhere else. So I figured, why not post the stuff that I got? I still have most of it after all this time.

This first one is a small artbook I got for the Playstation 3 game, Resistance 2. Now Resistance 2 was, okay, I guess. It was fairly unmemorable aside from its co-op campaign that I played a lot of. I don’t have the game anymore; I sold it several years back.

dev diary #2

People who played my Patreon demo probably noticed a few things: the load times were strangely long for a game like this, the frame rate had problems when too much stuff was on screen, and the game’s resolution was way too small.

I’ve been dividing my time among a number of different things for this game. The most important was optimization. I fixed a number of things under-the-hood that completely removed those problems I mentioned. Now it runs a hell of a lot better, at a bigger resolution! Compare these before and after screenshots.

Pixel Game Maker MV is still in the early access phase, with plans to improve optimization on their end as well. So this work I’ve been doing should be much easier in the future.

Now, you probably watched that video and asked, “Ramona, this stage isn’t actually going to just be a fucking straight line with a handful of enemies in it, right?” Of course it’s not! In all my work to actually make this thing run well, I had to make a lot of adjustments to art assets and mess around with stuff, that this is more or less a debug stage to test everything out. But with that out the way, I can actually start to work on real design. Levels that are good, and fun, and won’t make you close the game thinking it’s a bunch of bullshit. I’m at a point now where I’m planning and mapping out what levels will be like, and how many there will be.

The other thing I’ve been working on is sound. Here’s where the problems come in: of all the trans stereotypes for me to buck, “being good at making music” just so happened to be one of them. Creating songs that don’t become grating after a while is a pain, and it’s frustrating. But I’ll eventually come up with something good. I can only hope, anyway.

For now, though, I’ll leave you with a few features I threw in for you to look forward to.

Conveyor belts!

Secret weapon upgrades!

Crude dialogue between stages!

need to post here more

Today, I paid the $119/year price to keep this site alive. Which is important, as it contains my work: my art, my writing, my game stuff. Things that I make, and would like people to see. But I do have this problem: I do not post on it enough. And I should, because it’s expensive to own it! So maybe I should change that?

I’ve been going through some old uploaded photos and music for posts that have long since been deleted (roughly from 2010-2014), thinking about how I used to use this. I would post whatever old bullshit on here. Music reviews, short impressions of whatever games I was playing at the time, lewd photos of me, stories I had written, things I had made, and eventually, gamedev diaries for an unreleased project. I divided my time between this, and my Tumblr, where I would shitpost endlessly. Then that whole “Gamergate” thing happened, and something snapped in my mind, causing me to spend these past few years yelling at nazis, then yelling at a bunch of games people who are probably cool, but thought were assholes because I got suckered by con artists and centrist racists trying to make a quick buck off other peoples’ suffering. Then shit changed. If I did post here, it was some angry screed about GG/Indie Games stuff that pissed me off. Or how something transphobic happened and I wasn’t cool with it. It wasn’t fun anymore. And that sucks, because you should have fun with something like this. You’re not restricted by a character limit, or because you posted something pornographic, or because you told a bigot to fall into a toilet after they threatened to come to your house and murder you while posting your address. Like, check this out:

Bam, two anime dudes getting gangbanged. I’m not going to get kicked off my own website for twelve hours for posting it, or getting it deleted and my avatar turned into a mess of pixels, or anything stupid like that. What manga is this from? Fuck dude, I wish I knew! But that’s the kind of freedom I have. Not much of a point to me posting it, either, other than “I can.” And that’s fun! It’s fun to make a post like this, and probably fun for you to read. You come here to see what I’m thinking about, and then you get an eyeful of hot anime boys sucking some dicks. Think I’ll post a song, too. Hold on.

“revive” by genki rockets

There’s no real point to this post. Other than to make one, and to remind myself that this doesn’t have to be a hole for me to scream into, like it has been for so long. I’m trying to let go of that old anger as much as I can. It fucking sucks being mad all the time, and it’s even worse to realize that you were mad at the wrong people for the wrong reasons. This is my digital home. I’m the boss here, with no right-wing douchebag to tell me what to post (I mean, okay, I have a webhost provider, but I doubt they’ll suddenly drop me after being a paying customer for over a decade), or anyone to leave me to get annoyed to death by harassment. And that’s good!

Anyways here’s another spicy pic I found in the media archive:

Think I’ll post about video games next time. Spring is coming up, and that’s when I like to fire up the PS3 and play a specific set of games. Maybe I’ll learn to hack the thing and play whatever I want on it, too.

dev diary #1

Hello everyone. I’ve been a bit busy as of late working on a major project: a video game! And I thought that as a fun way to keep people interested in what I’m working on, and as a good way to keep this blog updated, I would post updates about the game’s progress, and why and how I’m doing certain things in it.

I’ll start this out with what programs I’m using to make it. I’m using Aseprite to draw all the graphics. Nothing too special there; it’s a program specifically designed for creating and animating 2D sprites, and it works pretty well. And I’m using Famitracker to make the sound effects and music, if you can call what I’ve done so far “music.”

Now what I’m using to actually do all the programming and design bits is something called Pixel Game Maker MV. It’s a game creation tool put together by the team who made RPG Maker. I had originally begun this game in Game Maker, but ran into multiple problems. The big one being that I have no fucking clue how to actually program. And it doesn’t help that at some point in the last couple years, Google has completely lost any use and utility it once had. For example, I wanted to figure out how to implement playing a short death animation and restarting the level if you were hit by an enemy, Super Mario style. I instead got page after page of completely unrelated bullshit. Wanting to make a “Black Box” era NES-style game and instead being asked if I wanted to learn how to implement gun recoil physics. One, my game doesn’t use guns. Two, even if it did, I sure as shit would not put recoil physics in a fucking 2D shooter! So I gave up on working on the game for a while, until PGMMV went on sale and I got it after my partner said I should.

As someone who spent a lot of time as a teenager messing with RPG Maker, this program came pretty naturally to me. In very short time, I managed to have a game evolve from a single-screen platformer similar to something like Balloon Fight or Bubble Bobble into a multi-screen shooter. And of course, as my big rambling post about Mega Man probably gave away, that series is a big influence on what I’m working on.

My current plan with demos and builds is that I will release the most up-to-date build to Patreon, and then make the previous build public. And for Patreon, this will be available for anyone who backs me, even if it’s only $1. And I feel the need to talk about this, because I want to explain myself, and not come across as someone charging money for a demo. You know, I didn’t like it when Gran Turismo 5 did it, and I’m not about to do it myself.

The thing about spending all my time working on this, is that I don’t have the time or energy to make smaller art pieces, the thing that my Patreon backers pay me for in the first place. So I’m putting this together as a way of saying thank you for the support, and sorry for taking so long with making other stuff. Think of it along the lines of an “Early Access” sort of deal.

As for the actual design, I’m aiming for a short run time; about an hour to complete. Better than to cut things short than wear out your welcome. As for the amount of levels, that’s still very much in the planning phase. I’m still working on making graphics, in addition to making levels with what I’ve already made. But I’ll post a preview for a new enemy here for you all:

Anyways. Keep watching this space for more updates when more substantial things are done.

2/9/2019

Been a while since my last post. And a lot has happened during that time. Some personal revelations and events that I feel like I need to write about and try to clear the air about where I’m at and where I want to go. Again, I mean. But first, I need to explain myself by dipping into the past. I’m going to avoid naming names as best I can; this isn’t a big righteous, angry, CM Punk-esque “pipebomb” or some shit.

Despite my best efforts with literally everything I have ever done to change my reputation, be it art, streaming, podcasting, or writing, I am unfortunately only known for one thing: my intense hatred of the Alt-Games community. Whenever I meet a new person, they’ll inform me that they know me because a bunch of people really don’t fucking like me. It kind of sucks.

But why? I will tell you.

I have a friend. Really nice trans woman. She does some great things with digital music and the Unreal Engine. In the Spring of 2015, we both got caught up in a fight between two cis women, and a meaningless article on a website that died in under a year. We took the writers’ side, because she was a charismatic, but very sympathetic woman whose mere existence was enough of a catalyst for the creation of the modern day “Alt-Right.”

Fast forward to the Winter. Her (now ex) partner starts becoming abusive. The abuse then escalated to her being kicked out of their home. This woman is physically disabled, and was diagnosed with a heart condition only days before. Now she’s sick and alone in the middle of a Canadian Winter. The reason for her removal was “[Popular figure in Indie Games] doesn’t like you, and that will hurt my career.”

The popular figure in question was the woman who got mad at the writer of the article we liked. Now I have a friend who is homeless and suicidal (and in my book, intentionally trying to drive a person to suicide is no different than attempted murder) after one of the most meaningful relationships in her life suddenly becomes abusive, and the only reasons given for it is: video games. A human being could conceivably die for the sake of some Twine games you can knock out in five minutes.

That was 2015. I’m writing this in February of 2019. Her living situation is still very, very fucked. Her reputation is in the toilet, being referred to as “the real abuser” and someone that you should steer clear off, if she hadn’t already gone off the grid in a self-imposed exile.

I have a friend whose life have just been destroyed, seemingly for no other reason than because a woman got mad at an article on a video game website. Of course I’m pissed off about it! I demand that somebody answers for this!

That didn’t happen. Rather, my anger was reduced to a narrative that I was nothing more than a mindless, racist foot soldier, acting at the behest of an Amazon employee, a Youtube personality, and a guy that won Jeopardy! a couple times. It was bullshit, and only made me angrier. My whole motivation was an answer to what could apparently made a person so powerful that people were literally willing to kill for her? And why are so many people telling me that I’m full of shit, despite numerous other people coming forward with their own stories?

I was lumped into some arbitrary group called the “Allyzone,” or “Anti-Gamergate,” depending on who was talking that day. Allyzone being a reference to a deleted tweet made by said Amazon employee (which, looking at the time stamps, was made when I still in bed). I’m suddenly cut off from numerous communities of other queer/trans artists. People I’ve never even heard of all think that I’m the reincarnation of Hitler. And then I receive thinly-veiled threats on this very blog that if I don’t shut up, then “friends and family can be dragged into this.” Trying to intimidate me into silence, so that other people close to me don’t suddenly and coincidentally find themselves smeared and harassed, driven out of spaces they need.

I know folks like to hate-read my stuff, so I ask you to put yourself into my position for a bit: someone close to you has been hurt. At the very least, you would like to see the people who did it face consequences, or at least someone to try and rectify things. Not be called a racist hack making up claims of abuse while being threatened with the safety of your other friends. You would probably be upset if this happened to you, right?

So for me, I considered “Allyzone” and “Anti-GG” to be nothing more than transphobic dogwhistles used by assholes. Sure, they claimed they were only interested in dunking on shitty cis men, but I mean, were they? I didn’t pull hundreds of dollars out of my already meager savings account to keep a disabled cis man from freezing to death under a bridge in Vancouver. I wasn’t up until 5 in the morning on Discord for weeks at a time, trying to convince a group of cis men that suicide wasn’t the answer. And I didn’t have to watch as a group of people who purport to be leftists and card-carrying DSA members knowingly and gleefully share a thoroughly debunked, discredited Breitbart article falsely accusing a cis man of pedophilia.

This was how I saw things. For years.

But things have begun to start changing.

One, the obvious matter of “holy fucking shit, turns out a lot of people I associated with during that time are complete fucking assholes! I thought the whole ‘being hella racist’ and being a rape-apologist/actual rapist was just an Alt-Games thing!” Maybe I should actually read my Twitter timeline instead of focusing on people I chose to follow for reasons other than “I felt bad they got SWAT teams sent to their house because racists thought it would be funny.” Also not being friends with Zoe anymore.

Two, the queer games group that I’m part of. I’m part of Game and Love. So too is an Alt-Games person. They joined after me, and when I saw the news, I groaned and said to myself that shit would be awkward. But, I would remain civil; I wasn’t about to start a fight in someone else’s house, you know?

And hey, wouldn’t you know, turns out that actually talking to someone, instead of simply assuming the worst via posts on a website that truncates your thoughts and thrives on chaos, lets you know that they’re not that bad! We have a lot in common! We have similar interests, with a love of Sega games and Sonic the Hedgehog. I came away from a conversation thinking, “damn, dude, I think I would like to be friends with this person!” It’s just a shame that we’re separated by a line of, I don’t know…circumstance? Ideology? Whatever it is, I find myself growing more resentful of it. Because if I was so wrong about all these people I thought were cool, and I was wrong about this person I thought was an asshole, who else have I been wrong about?

I spent so much time being resentful at having a friend go through so much suffering that I just assumed everyone was a mindless drone living in fear of a handful of shitty people, that I didn’t realize that I was putting them into the same narrative of the “Allyzone” that I had put into. Turns out we weren’t really all that different in the end. It wasn’t a grand conspiracy to do harm, we just wanted to support our friends.

Third, the HBomberguy stream. I watched as, if only for a weekend, everyone was united. People that would otherwise spit on one another were joined together for a common goal. And it wasn’t like some overly dramatic Independence Day kind of shit, it was a British dude playing a bad video game for charity! It probably sounds stupid, but it gave me hope.

I’ve spent the last month or so seriously contemplating reaching out to some (not all, some of you can still fuck off) of these people. To say, hey, we got caught up in other people’s bullshit, and it only hurt us in the end. This is a new year. A new time. Maybe we should start over. And given that it’s cool to dunk on Gamergate again, and cool to call Indie Games “Punk,” maybe we can get a do-over too?

Of course, there’s always the possibility that it’s too late for me. I talked a lot of shit about them for a long time. I know that forgiveness and trust are things that have to be earned, and I could very well never earn them. But it wouldn’t hurt if I at least tried to make the effort, right?

let’s talk about mega man! and also astro boy! and also my life about ten years ago!

One of the gifts I was given for Christmas was Mega Man Legacy Collection 1+2 on the Switch. Thanks Mom. Now, I already have the first Legacy Collection. Three copies of it, in fact (PC, 3DS, PS4). You know, hey, when you like someone’s product, you sometimes have to give them a little walking around money (even though I didn’t actually pay for two of them, but let’s roll with this bit). But I wanted the second specifically so that I could replay Mega Man 9 and 10 without needing to plug the Wii back in and have to fuck around with replacing batteries.

So I turned on the game, loaded up and played through Mega Man 9. And…it…

it fucking sucked!

This isn’t really meant to be like a review or anything, but I’ll just say this: the game is way too fucking hard. It’s very much a product of its time, where seemingly every platformer had to be hard as fuck (see examples: Super Meat Boy, I Wanna Be The Guy), or else you weren’t a real man or whatever. Keiji Inafune straight up admitted a lot of the level design for the game was inspired by a meme on Nico Nico Douga; a cute, funny little music video that exaggerated the difficulty of Mega Man 2. And as a result, the game suffered tremendously. Mega Man games are not that hard. Or at least, they weren’t.

Now, getting back on topic, of which there is no real topic other than me going on a nostalgic ramble about shit that happened ten years ago (or about).

So, Mega Man. I played it as a kid. I had the Wily Wars (via the Sega Channel), which was an ugly, buggy remake of Mega Man 1-3 with terrible controls. I also had one of the shitty Game Boy ones. And I liked them, mostly because I didn’t know any better; that there were better versions of the games out there. But then I sort of dropped off from caring about the games as a teenager. I don’t why, really. I remember being really annoyed at the deluge of shitty OC Remixes of the otherwise great music. The sprite comics (do people still make those?). Playing the X games (which I don’t really like) and being annoyed at the attempts at gritty drama. And I say all this despite the fact that I was, and still am, huge into Sonic the Hedgehog, which had all of these things. Not sure why I was so accepting of Sonic’s melodrama, but felt that Mega Man could fuck off. In any event, I didn’t care about Mega Man for a long time.

Then I became an adult. And I know that I’ve talked about this a lot, but it bears repeating: having a full-time job with weird hours that prevents you from having any sort of outside life really fucks with you. Waking up at 4 am every morning and clocking in at 5, and not a minute later, or else you would be locked out of the building fucking sucks. I’m not a morning person even at the best of times, and it was even worse here. Slowly wake up in the frozen Colorado weather, drink some coffee, throw on my uniform, and see what’s on TV, just so I have some noise to keep me from going back to bed. What’s on TV at four in the fucking morning? Nothing! There are infomercials for crap you will never need or want (I think “Hip Hop Abs” was the hottest thing at the time), or some decrepit televangelist saying something racist or homophobic.

Eventually, I remembered that Adult Swim existed, and they would start airing reruns of Astro Boy. That little robot boy borne the pain of the world for me. I was in this transition period in my life: losing contact with my high school friends and working all the time to the point that the only friends I had were my co-workers. I had a lot of free time on my hands. I consumed a lot of media. I started listening to Bowie. I started listening to shoegaze. I was looking at pictures of outer space, and then getting into Noctis. I wanted to become an artist, because I hated being an inventory manager for a company that would frequently threaten to fire you in the most passive-aggressive manner, even when you were doing well.

This was also around the same time that the beginning of the modern day “Indie” scene in games really started to pick up steam. I loved video games! I wanted to be an artist! Maybe I could start to make my own stuff! Granted, even back then, I knew that “the scene,” as it were, was a total joke. Thin-skinned, buffoonish white men like Jon Blow were hailed as visionaries who would “save” games from the evil major corporations, despite having the promotional backing of said corporations, and then would proceed to do fuck all in regards to not helping perpetuate the cycle of exploitation in game development. I figured that eventually things would change for the better. Ten years later, things haven’t changed much. Oh well.

And if it wasn’t Braid, it was usually a game about two squares bumping into one another meant to symbolize the creator’s unrequited love for a girl he saw walk past Starbucks a couple days ago, that would be getting all sorts of love and attention. At the time, I had no artistic talent! I had unrequited feelings for a girl! I could be an indie superstar! I have an external hard drive still full of shit I worked on, but never released, because of pesky things like “personal pride” and “what the fuck dude I’m not shameless enough to put this bullshit out there publicly.” Unless there’s suddenly a demand for a really short Knytt Stories level I put together. Or an attempt at a point and click adventure that never got past one room.


Now, here’s where Mega Man comes in. I decided to actually try and complete a Mega Man game, now that I was an adult. Mostly because I was finally starting to pick up on the fact that hey, he looks an awful lot like Astro Boy! I picked Mega Man 2. Mega Man 2 is the best one in the series. You see, not only was indie game development making waves, so too was indie games criticism. People writing long meandering pieces about their personal lives that tangentially connects to the game in question they’re writing about. I was going to do that, too. I had grand dreams of being a writer; it was literally the one skill I had as a teenager, aside from being really good at taking a beating. The plan was to make games, and write about them, too. I was eventually going to be one of those cool kids on Select Button (though seeing as how I’m now on one of their podcasts, I guess I am?) that everyone loved even though I was pretentious and completely full of shit (this parenthetical aside to let you know this is a subtle shot at another artist I don’t like). Mega Man is a cute, adorable character who does his best. I was too busy trying to be “deep” and be one of the boys, that I didn’t bother to stop and think about why I liked all this cutesy, brightly-colored shit with feminine leanings to it. But that’s another ramble for another day.

Mega Man 9 was coming out soon. I was so pumped for it. And I got it, and I played it, and I never made it past the first Wily level. I wouldn’t make it past that level until like a week ago. So I instead bought the Endless Attack DLC and pretty much spent all my time with that. The lesson of Mega Man 9 is that it’s fucking shit, but the Endless Attack is incredibly fun and well worth buying the game for. It’s good for a quick run before you have to go to bed, because you need to be up way too early tomorrow. But at least you’ll have an episode of Astro Boy to keep you company when you do.

The real point of this whole post, aside from taking an opportunity to talk about loving Astro Boy and Mega Man, is that this all came together in this period of self-discovery. A time of trying to figure out my place in the world. While the talent wasn’t there, the ambition and the inspiration certainly was. I’m trying to get back to that point. For too long, I’ve been complacent, or focusing on other things that completely killed my drive and did nothing but hurt me in the end (see: bitter angry end of the year blog post). I need to go back to that idealistic me. I tried to fucking kill myself back in September, and I never want to go back to that dark place again. I’m a much different person now than I was then, and the world is much different too. But there still has to be that little spark somewhere. Hopefully I’ll find it.

final post of 2018

Today is New Years Eve. I’m going to talk about the good things in 2018. And the things I want more of in 2019.

First, to all my friends. Thank you for sticking with me, even when you probably had better things to do than deal with my weird, mentally ill ass. That goes for all of you I’ve known for years, whose bonds I like to think I’ve strengthened, and for all the wonderful people I’ve met this year. I know that I’m probably not the easiest person to be around, or listen to, or look at, but I appreciate you all being there nonetheless. Gabi, Charlotte, Sarah, SF, Pode, Nora, Amanda, Alex, Melly, Sasha, Zedra, Other Sara, and anyone else I forgot because I’m writing this bullshit off the top of my head: you’re all great, and I love you.

Second, to everyone who has supported my work. Everyone who has liked, shared, or even paid for my art. Or just hung around in general. One of the “great” things about Bipolar Disorder is that it makes me paranoid as fuck; constantly being annoyed by a voice telling me that I don’t actually have any real friends, and that everyone is just here to gawk at me like some sideshow freak, waiting for my next big breakdown, like I’m Chris-chan or DarkSydePhil or something. Probably doesn’t help that there are people who are only around to gawk at me like some sideshow freak, waiting for my next big breakdown. I absolutely melted down over this a few weeks ago, which is something I’m still very much ashamed of. And every so often I have to look at those numbers on “social media” or itch.io or whatever and see that that’s not actually true. So thank you all.

Third, to all the groups and outlets that took a chance on me. Snexploration, for letting me tell stupid jokes into a microphone and pretend like I’m not a complete dunce while trying to say deep things about Super Nintendo games (look forward to the Wizardry episode…sometime soon I don’t know). Game and Love, for being willing to put me up front and center to a queer games audience, despite the baggage that comes with my name (and shout out to the one member of the group who I know absolutely hates my guts, but has been willing to at least be civil in the discord; this is an actual thank you, not some passive-aggressive swipe). And apologies for only writing about games on a sporadic basis as of late. Maybe that will change in 2019. PC Gamer, that one time they published my piece on Fire Pro Wrestling’s welcoming community, before it completely fell apart due to petty drama and the owner of Fire Pro Club being a pedophile, retroactively making me look like a goddamned fool. So you know, thanks for that, I guess. Assholes.

Fourth, MY GIRLFRIEND.

the one on the right. not sonic. i understand that when it comes to me, this could easily be confusing.

I know that shit’s been rough the last few months, and we haven’t really had the time to have a relationship due to that. But I’m hoping this coming year will spare us the bullshit, and we can go back to being gay dumbasses the way god (or as I call him, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, while I walk around Barnes and Noble putting copies of the Bible in the “fiction” department) intended.

2019 is going to involve me (hopefully) leaving the bullshit in the past. A year where I become a better friend, a better partner, and a better artist. And if I’m lucky, maybe even a better person. But let’s not push our luck, here. In the meantime, I’m going to ride out the last few hours of the year, feeling pretty good for not giving into the temptation to start drinking again (four month anniversary is the 7th!).

Happy New Year, everyone!