i’m 35 now

check it out: i’m old

This past Sunday was my birthday! Unfortunately, it was not quite as notable as last years, which was a lot of fun, but it was still a great time overall.

Like last year, I started my day with a coffee and checking the racing news. I’m looking forward to seeing what George Russel can do with Mercedes; I really warmed up to that kid last season. Then I loaded up Animal Crossing. Yes, I still play Animal Crossing. Multiple times a week, even! What cool things did my villagers have to say to me this year?

So, before I get into all the IRL fun I had, I do have to bring up a bitter pill. A former Twitter mutual decided that, of all the fucking days to start some shit, it needed to be my fucking birthday. I say “former” because this is one of those tedious “tenderqueers” you hear so much about; the kind that thinks any trans person who creates a piece of art more hard-hitting than Steven Universe holding hands with Wheeler from Captain Planet is actually a secret rapist pedophile who totally deserves all the harassment and doxxing they may receive. Also calling me an “opportunist” for bringing up the irrefutable fact that even leftists will use places like Kiwi Farms as a source for taking mouthy queers down a peg. Jerk. Anyways, yes, this fucking asshole brought their tired ass “relatively notable trans person is totally doing a rape on me by defending the developers of a TV game being harassed for stupid reasons” gimmick to my metaphorical house on a day where I want to deal with people’s shit even less than I normally do.

I had honestly planned saving this rant for the end of the year, as part of my 2021 wrap-up, but fuck it, I’ll do it now before I get back to the fun shit.

I want to talk some shit about this whole “wholesome” thing that’s been going around these last few years. Now, I do not have any issue with things that are bright, cheery, or lacking in challenge, both in the design and thematic sense. I mean, hell, I literally just posted Animal Crossing screenshots. Besides that, bro, have you ever seen Slimegirl? There’s nothing inherently wrong with the concept of media that you can chill out to. The problem comes from its surrounding culture. You know, that whole thing where a bunch of She-Ra avatars who got their queer theory from a Tumblr fandom blog from nine years ago fill an artists’ inbox with “kill urself fag” because they had the audacity to create something heavier than, again, Steven Universe holding hands with Wheeler from Captain Planet. Anything that isn’t the most non-threatening, saccharine piece of art is considered evil. What happened to Isabel Fall was only a year ago. How about that young woman who drew a short comic about shoplifting? People with ACAB and “Be Gay, Do Crimes” in their bios mass reported her until her Paypal got shut down. This may sound radical, but I have a firm belief that artists, especially queer ones, doubly especially the trans ones, should be able to make something that challenges the established norms of society without also getting harassed into a mental breakdown or financial debt.

Queer artists who are anti-establishment are looked at as sinister. Sex workers are looked down upon, even if someone in the wholesome scene does or makes something sexual themselves. Hate to it break it to you, but showing off half a nipple on your OnlyFans page makes you just as much of a whore as the rest of us. My particular sex work is getting phone calls at weird hours, and having to spend anywhere from five minutes to an hour listening to middle aged men masturbating and telling me how badly they want to be my stepdad. This does not make me better or worse than anyone else in my field; stripper, lewd furry artist, camgirl, dominatrix, porn star, full-on escort, there is no moralistic hierarchy to making money on the concept of being horny. I also strongly resent this whole narrative that we’re all part of some cabal of barely reformed *chan (where the * is any number from 2 through 8) posters that want the freedom to yell out racial slurs and sexualize minors, and that our anti-wholesome stance comes from unchecked bigotry, rather than being tired of yet more blows being rained down upon some of society’s easiest punching bags. That’s bull shit. We should have the right to make dark, potentially problematic work, in addition to cute stuff with lots of primary colors. In this time of all types of queer shit getting the boot from several platforms (see: Tumblr, PayPal, Patreon, even OnlyFans) for being “too sexual,” and small indie creators specifically being put on blast during the Apple vs Epic lawsuit, the last thing we need are a bunch of “pick me” idiots who will accuse us of being nazis simply for being born in 1988 throwing us under the bus to prolong the amount of time they have before the digital censorship train makes it to their platform. Art should not be a war fought on multiple fronts, yet here we are.

So yeah, fuck “Wholesome.” That shit gave us Nick Robinson, the McElroys, Blaseball, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, among other things that trigger a spike in my blood pressure when I see them. The most cowardly shit. The commodification of art into a cynical marketing gimmick sucks. Give me something cute, but not holier-than-thou “I’m not like those people” garbage.

Bitch.

oh right, i also got no more heroes 3 on release day. look forward to that write-up eventually.

Let’s get back to business.

Once again, I went out on a MALL ADVENTURE. Of course, more or less transitioning over to PC gaming and buying obscure indie/retro shit that doesn’t have physical releases that don’t cost like a million bucks, I didn’t buy any games like I did with the Tony Hawk remasters last year. I did however get some shirts on clearance for a grand total of about twenty bucks:

I know, it’s not particularly exciting. I am an old curmudgeon with low standards, shirts will do it for me. Probably doesn’t hurt that I also got myself some pizza, a chocolate cake, and some root beer to go along with all that.

That all doesn’t really matter. The real plan for Sunday night was getting together with some of my closest friends, and watching AEW All Out. Doing pay-per-views on my birthday is a good way of ensuring that I will buy at least one of your shows every year.

Fuck me, this show rules. All Out kicked all of the asses. The return of a guy that I thought was done with wrestling, was just going to live the rest of life never getting back into the ring, coming back after so long. That’s right, Paul Wight taking on QT Marshall!!

…okay, maybe not.

But seriously, despite me writing an entire article two years ago about not giving a fuck about CM Punk anymore, and hoping that he did stay out of the ring, after showing up on some WWE-branded talk show in the cringiest of ways, I bought into the hype of his return. I was so fucking excited to see him take on Darby Allin, and those two did not disappoint. Other than that, the Young Bucks/Lucha Brothers cage match is up there for my personal Match of the Year with the Britt Baker/Thunder Rosa Lights Out match back on St Patrick’s Day. All Out was just banger after banger of great wrestling, to the point that some of my friends, who have never watched a wrestling show in their lives, got hyped up about it. That was fucking awesome to see. Of course, I can’t forget about the debut of HOLY FUCKING SHIT IT’S BRYAN GODDAMN DANIELSON!!!!!!!!!!! Dirk Fucking Dickbutt in AEW! You gotta love it!

That was pretty much my night. Other than some asshole bringing me down for a few minutes, leading into me pasting and slightly updating a few paragraphs that have been sitting in my drafts since like June, I had a great time. Great show, great friends, and because Jungle Boy showed up multiple times, great music.

It was cool. I got to watch a great show with friends, some of whom were meeting each other for the first time. Admittedly, I was a little worried about how everyone would get along; not that I thought they would all try to kill each other, but rather everything being awkward and nobody knowing what to say. I didn’t want anyone to feel left out. Thankfully, nobody was. We all had a fun night. And I think that’s something I need to keep in mind is that, no matter what is going on in the world, or how unbearably shitty the first half of 2021 was for me: overall, my life is pretty fucking great at the moment. I’m not a millionaire, but I am rich where it counts. It feels good to have a little support in your life, and to not feel so dang alone all the time.

I’m glad I got all these people in my life. I’m glad people are reading this site every week, as well. I’ll look forward to seeing you all again here next year.

there is some cool stuff on the internet archive, part 4

Confession: I retired this segment from the site for a while due to the Archive’s Twitter account doing some fence-sitting about cryptocurrency, and leaning towards being in favor of it. As a tyrannical SJW, or whatever idiots on Reddit call you when you say that their forest-destroying Monopoly money sucks ass, I didn’t feel like indirectly providing free PR to a site getting in on that racket.

But now that crypto’s value has completely plummeted to a level so far below rock bottom that it usually entails a Budd Dwyer-style public suicide, I’m a bit more okay with it. Regardless of any idiot in charge, the Archive still does provide a valuable service to culture. So it’s time to look up some cool shit that it has.

Video Games: The Ultimate Gaming Magazine

Video Games: The Un-Googleable Magazine is, like GameFan and Incite, one of those publications I remember reading when I was younger. Until I started looking at some issues for this post, I couldn’t really remember much aside from its import section. Back in The Day, I was in love with the import sections of gaming magazines. It was tantalizing; telling me about all these cool looking, weird games that I will never see because they were all on the Saturn and go fuck yourself Bernie Stolar. Fucking loser ass bitch.

Anyways. Japanese games. This issue in particular, April ’96, introduced me to the Megaten series. Specifically, Devil Summoner:

Read that first sentence. We very nearly had this in the States! Imagine a world where America’s first taste of Megaten was Devil Summoner, and not Persona. Imagine not having to wait until I’m in my fucking 30’s to play Soul Hackers! I’m not sure what stopped Devil Summoner from getting over here, but I will take this opportunity to blame Bernie Stolar for it anyway. Dogshit brain stupid idiot fucker. Kiss my ass, Bernie.

This particular page really caught my imagination. Back in the The Day, when there was no YouTube or The US Army Presents G4, that was all you had. Something that these old mags were really good at was using great screenshots. These days, I know that Megaten games involve you fighting static sprites where the animation is limited to shaking back and forth. But back then? Kid Me spent a lot of time daydreaming in class, imagining all sorts of different scenarios of how this game could have worked. Maybe I’ll finally learn more than 10% of the Japanese language and get around to playing this.

Oh wow, remember back when you could talk about killing nazis in video games without a bunch of weirdos sending you pictures of their gun collection in front of a sticky note with your home address? Feels so long ago.

Hold on, an inappropriate anecdote in a small blurb? Did I write for this magazine?

I don’t want to post every single page from this issue, but I will post a couple of reviews/previews that have that off-the-cuff writing that I’m actually pretty fond of.

you. damn. right.

yeah, there is definitely an alternate timeline version of me who wrote for this mag.

Check this shit out, they even covered fanzines! Or, at least the concept of a fanzine. That’s awesome.

This is a pretty good issue of a magazine that was better than I remember it being. But there is another reason why I thought it would be a good idea to talk about it. Let’s take a look at the masthead:

Now, editorial aside, there’s a name on the staff that’s really sticking out for me. See if you can find it. Give up?

Yes, that Larry Flynt. I very recently found out that, in addition to Hustler, Larry Flynt published a number of gaming magazines. In fact, he even published America’s #1 PC-Engine publication, TurboPlay! Video games and porn, truly a man after my own heart. A real shame about all the antisemitism and allegations of child molestation, though. Still good magazines; he only published the gaming stuff, and left his fucked up beliefs to his porn.

 

Conan O’Brien

A couple weeks ago, I was laid out, sick as fuck with a stomach bug. This week, I’m laid out, sick as fuck from my second COVID shot. Combine this with YouTube randomly recommending me Conan clips, and this led to me checking the Archive for full episodes. Sure enough, they are here.

The thing is, I missed out on the whole Late Night train. Growing up, my parents were big fans of Jay Leno. For anyone who has never seen Jay Leno, he is a man made in a lab to see if science could create a being with no concept of humor whatsoever. Watching a painfully unfunny idiot look at typos in the newspaper was enough for me to write off the whole concept of a talk show. Got better things to do, like staring at the fucking wall.

As such, you’ll have to forgive me for delivering the world’s coldest take: Conan is really fucking funny. I mean, the dude was a writer on The Simpsons, back when that still meant something. Taking this format of interviewing famous people and making jokes about current events, and making shit that is completely off-the-wall and legitimately hilarious is awesome. Take this nine minute segment I’m about to embed here. There is more humor in this one, for lack of a better term, throwaway segment, than other shows have in an entire season.

In any event, I suppose that it’s better late than never when it comes to watching good TV.

 

Funky Horror Band

I have been looking for the Funky Horror Band’s music for a long time. FHB, for the uninitiated, are a fake band (think along the lines of The Gorillaz) made up of cool looking aliens that made some pretty nice music in the late 80s-early 90s. That kind of New Jack Swing inspired Pop music that only Japan could pull off. Gorgeous stuff.

Anyways. Of course the Archive has their stuff available for download, which I went ahead and did. It sounds awesome. Also, “Magical Trans Circle” lol.

That’s it for this month. So long as there aren’t any more NFT-related shenanigans in the future, I’ll keep this segment going. The Internet Archive is too important a resource to lose to a bull shit form of fake money that’s even more fake than the shit we have to use in our day to day lives.

there is some cool stuff on the internet archive, part 3

It’s that time again. That wonderful time where I go dumpster diving through every transphobes least favorite den of piracy: the Internet Archive! Let’s get fucking started!

NamCollection 50th Anniversary

NamCollection is a five-game compilation of Namco PSX games for the Playstation 2 only ever released in Japan. The games included are:

  • Ridge Racer
  • Tekken
  • Ace Combat 2
  • Klonoa
  • Mr. Driller

Now, while this is not the digital monument to classic games that the Namco Museum series was, it’s still pretty cool. You get all these games on one DVD, with some slightly updated textures for all of them, and in the case of Ridge Racer and Ace Combat, analog controls.

when i say “slightly updated” i do mean slightly

Going back and playing these games, it’s pretty incredible how good they are even now, decades after their release. Except for Tekken 1. Tekken 1 fucking sucks. Playing this, I wondered out loud how this spawned eight sequels that were all really good; like okay, Tekken 4 was not super stellar, but at least it had ambitions that only failed due to the genre it was in. Tekken 1’s controls are fucking terrible. The AI is the worst kind of SNK mind-reading bull shit. Characters have about five moves that you can never get to input right. Heihachi and Paul can straight up kill you in two hits. It sucks. If you want to play a Tekken game so bad, there are plenty of other options out there, and three of them are also available on the PS2.

Ridge Racer is pretty good. The thing about the series prior to Ridge Racer 4 is that I am terrible at them; I just cannot wrap my head around the way the cars handle. It feels extremely sensitive compared to other games, even more recent Ridge Racers. A big problem is that PCSX2 uh, kind of sucks when it comes to mapping analog sensitivity,so trying to use the analog sticks to drive was a hassle, as it had no problem turning to the right, while trying to turn left literally did not work unless I moved the stick all the way. I’m sure the analog stuff works fine on original hardware, but it does not here. Game is still fine, despite me being bad and my emulator refusing to cooperate with me. Only real downside is that this is the original release of Ridge Racer, locked at 30 FPS, and not the updated 60 FPS version released with Ridge Racer 4. I’m not a big FPS person; I’m fine with 30, but I feel like racing games should go as fast as possible, so it’s a shame that the 60 is not the game on this collection.

Ace Combat 2 is awesome. Ace Combat in general is great, except for that horrible American one that everyone somehow has in their game collection. While I still had the same analog troubles here as I did with Ridge Racer, it’s not as big a deal as I can handle the planes here better than I could the cars there. Being on PS2, the planes have a little more detail on them, which is cool; if I’m going to be uncritically taking part in the American War Machine (this was before Ace Combat took more of a “war is bad” stance), it might as well look nice. The action is just as wild and frenetic as it was on the original Playstation. I have nothing to complain about here, other than some control issues that are not the game’s fault.

Klonoa is one of those games that is really good, everyone agrees is really good, and I have never, ever finished. It’s one of those games that I load up in an emulator, play around with for a few levels, then I say, “yeah this is cool, I will come back to this later,” and then I never do. I really should get around to fixing that at some point. Even now, for this post, I simply played a few levels and said, “yes, good.” Sorry everyone; I will turn in my Gamer Card at the end of the post. Klonoa is good, or at least the first five levels are.

Like the older Ridge Racer games, I am fucking terrible at Mr. Driller. I have played and owned multiple versions of the game, and I am incapable of completing any stage beyond the easiest, Baby’s-First-Game level. I like Mr. Driller, but I do not understand him. I suck at it, but the game is good.

F1 Races

Aside from playing host to obscure video games, video game collections, and queer literature, the Internet Archive also has a bunch of racing on it! Looking around, it has Grand Prix’s dating all the way back to the late 80s, the incredibly exciting time where you got to see the rivalry between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna unfold, to the modern day, with its current attitude of “we are literally a sports manga now.” That’s awesome.

The Archive also has episodes of the Netflix documentary Drive To Survive. My introduction to F1 was a YouTube video on a gaming channel that I’m subbed to, but for normal people, this show is what got people invested in the sport of Auto Racing. Granted, reality television is a complete work, but at least this is a good work. There’s a video on YouTube that I would recommend as a supplemental material for DTS. F1 Racing is pretty cool, and you should at least watch Drive To Survive if you don’t have the patience for a longer 2-3 hour race.

Looking at more trans zines

Given recent events and me writing a big angry post telling TERFS to go die, I thought I would go back into looking up old trans publications. But rather than look at old magazines that showed off queer happiness with outdated terminology, I was looking for something angry. I went back in time to the 90s, and the early 2000s. I wanted to compare and contrast the different eras, and I was not let down.

Here’s some weird, tru-scummy bull shit from the 80s. You can tell by reading this that there is this theme of, “you will never be a real woman.” Reading through, there’s this attempt at both-sidesing the concept of being trans. It does say that you should feel free to express your gender as you please, but also says that taking hormones is totally a crutch in the world of drag queens. There’s still the reiteration that trans women are simply cross-dressing men, this constant use of “he.” Cis gays are shown in pictorials having fun and enjoying life, while anyone on HRT is shown in pornographic spreads. Now, I most certainly do not have any objection to trans porn, but there is something being said when you have these polar opposites of “here are normal people” and “here are these weird, exotic freaks who only exist as a hole to park your actually functioning dick into.” It’s kind of bull shit.

Meanwhile, going back to TranSexpress in 1996, it’s very much a “fuck you, we’ll do what we want” style. There’s a few things in here that are a bit iffy, but again, it was ’96 and it was written and published in the UK, so I would be shocked if everyone involved with this publication weren’t round up and forced to witness cisnormative culture like that one scene in A Clockwork Orange until they weren’t trans anymore.

Going forward in time even more, to 2000. This next zine I found is honestly a complete heartbreaker. The reason why is because having read through it (or at least whatever parts survived the terrible Xerox job), it shows that nothing has changed in twenty-one years.

That sucks. This was 2000. We’re still going through this fucking performative, faux-leftist “Just Asking Questions,” I-Support-You-Until-I-Actually-See-One-Of-You shit. A few years ago, I said that people might support trans women as a concept, but will just as soon join in on our harassment and marginalization and assuming that every negative stereotype about us is true. As I very angrily put a couple posts ago, I’m kind of over it. Over these cis clowns thinking that we’re monsters, and also over all the fucking “pick me!” trannies that will gladly sell you out and throw you, not under the bus, but under a moving diesel train, and have the audacity to say, “nothing personal, just business” afterwards. Fuck off, let me enjoy my PS2 games and racing in peace.

I can at least be glad that, although shit still sucks, our voices have only gotten louder and angrier. We’ve gotten meaner and more aggressive. This is a trend that will only continue.

there is some cool stuff on the internet archive part 2

Much like my Racing Game Round-Up, I think I would like to make a monthly thing where I look for cool shit on the Internet Archive that is worth a look. Just as well, because some things have gone down in the world recently where you might need someone to point out where to find some files. Let’s start with that.

PS3 Games

Turns out that the rumor of Sony shutting down all storefronts for their pre-PS4 hardware is true, with the Playstation Store getting shut down like, today. It’s not too often that a major corporation comes out and straight up tells people to pirate their shit, but hey, their loss is our gain.

The Archive has multiple sources of downloadable PS3 games. I’ve been using this particular collection myself, but again, there are plenty of other places to look on there. It’s mostly a great collection, the downsides being that not every game is on there quite yet (I had to go digging through the cellars of the internet for a copy of Armored Core For Answer), and the Archive’s download speeds are incredibly slow; don’t go in expecting to get every Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto immediately.

Now to actually mod your PS3? Well, you know, I don’t want to be one of those people supporting piracy, and as such, I wouldn’t do something like tell you to click on this link here, link a YouTube video telling you how to install a bunch of legally ambiguous programs, or link another YouTube video that shows you how to transfer the games from your PC to your PS3. I also will not tell you that if you want to transfer a game larger than 4 GBs, you’ll want to use an FTP program like FileZilla, and have it connect to the IP address on your PS3 system itself (found in the PS3’s System Settings), then click and drag your games to the “PS3ISO” folder on the PS3. I won’t be doing that. Figure it out on your own, you filthy pirates!

Atomic TV

Atomic TV is/was a public access show from the late 90s-early 2000s that I’ve been checking a few episodes of. From what I’ve seen, it’s a show that takes clips from 1950’s exploitation films, propaganda, and fucked up PSA’s, interspersed with commentary segments and interviewing random people on the street about the theme of the episode. There have also been some episodes focused on music videos and bootleg concert footage of Japanese musicians like Cornelius and Pizzicato Five, which is honestly a pretty amazing service, given that even now, getting Japanese music into Western mediums is pretty difficult.

Cool stuff. I’ve really been getting into watching public access stuff as of late, mostly because here in Colorado, there isn’t much of a scene for it. The best we’ve gotten were:

  • A one-episode “comedy” variety show starring the cast of a series of commercials for a used car dealership. As an aside, if any other Coloradans remember the weird Rocky’s Autos variety hour, please let me know in the comments, so I stop feeling like maybe I made up the whole thing in my head somehow.
  • An extremely irritating series with what are essentially the mascots for a chain of porn shops. The Pleasures Dudes, two middle-aged men acting like Spicolli from Fast Times At Ridgemont High doing obnoxious interviews with porn stars, doing bad commentary over women’s pro wrestling matches, and generally annoying me.
  • A half-hour…thing…by a b-movie actress named Jennifer Day, where her and a couple of strippers dance around in a hotel room in their underwear. This is to sell you on a series of videos where her and a couple of strippers dance around in a hotel room, only they’re naked now.

Incite Magazine

son of the beach!? holy shit…

Incite was a magazine that I read an awful lot as a teenager. Probably because they were constantly getting to interview pro wrestlers and had lots of photoshoots with models with freaking monster titties. Which, as a teen who didn’t have internet at the time, I appreciated.

jeez, who could ever accuse the games industry of being juvenile?

Reading the first issue for this post, and boy it is something. There’s this energy of a desperate, flailing plea to be taken seriously. For games to be taken seriously. It’s a surprise that the first sentence in the issue isn’t, “Video Games: they’re not, heh, for kids anymore!” Celebrity interviews, the aforementioned big titty models, “gadget” reviews, the Maxim-esque layout. Rather than letting the medium of games speak for themselves, Incite has this put-upon attempt at making games “cultured,” like you’re going to an expensive cocktail bar in your finest Versace to discuss the merits of Crazy Taxi. It’s the worst, most obnoxious kind of “lad magazine” bull shit. The kind of thing that led to The United States Armed Forces Presents: G4 TV, the one-sided feud of Gamers vs Roger Ebert, and the subsequent We Demand To Be Taken Seriously games “journalism” of today.

Games do not need that sort of pretentious, elitist validation. Despite everything in this incredibly shitty, toxic industry, the actual games it produces are more than capable of being appreciated on their own terms. Games are very much an artistic medium that can bring out emotions and feelings that other mediums can’t do, or can’t do the same way. Doesn’t matter if it’s Nier Automata or some Pac-Man bootleg you downloaded in a MAME ROMset, they are both important and appreciable on their own merits. And if you’re going to attach this garbage “Vodka on the rocks” aesthetic to games, at least actually play the fucking things, instead of using the same tired writing cliches of the vapid, flighty reviewers of the past.

shocking news: fighting games take time to be proficient at

do not call your pokemon article “yellow peril.”

At least Incite didn’t dedicate any of its pages to calling a rape victim an unreasonable liar who wanted to take down their downtrodden publication. HA! You didn’t think I would take a potshot at Kotaku and noted SWERF n’ TERF Gita Jackson, but YOU THOUGHT WRONG.

Damn…this was supposed to be a post about cool things on the Archive. I guess my teenage memories didn’t hold up to my nearly 35-year old tastes. Let me see if I can’t salvage this and find something else that’s actually cool.

NG Namco Community Magazine

Namco Community Magazine was a Japan-only publication done by Namco themselves. If you are familiar with the Namco Museum Collection, you’re seen a few of these covers before. Being entirely in Japanese, I can’t exactly do much with these other than look at the pictures, and I imagine that this was similar to a Nintendo Power-like “buy our games because they are cool and the best and girls will suck your dick if you play” glorified advertisement. But fuck it, I’m a sucker for old Namco shit.

PC-ENGINE DRUAGA REMAKE!!

That’s it for now. I’ll be coming back to this subject again in April.

there is some cool stuff on the internet archive

Some time ago, I want to say maybe a few weeks back, I was in a Discord call with my friend Miffy. I was watching her work on a project, which looked pretty fucking cool. The project in question used a lot of fashion references, which meant that there were a few nights where all we did was look at fashion magazines from about 10-20 years ago on the Internet Archive. I don’t know much about fashion myself, as my plaid leggings and Bullet Club T-Shirt will attest to, so it was fun to browse through them.

Something that we both discovered was the Archive’s “Collections” feature. Basically, a user’s likes with its own dedicated page. One of these was labeled, “grapes.png’s Favorites.” Okay, who the fuck is grapes.png? It’s such a weird link to throw out amidst a series of Vogue back issues and Shinjuku fashion mags. So of course we clicked it.

It was straight up porn. After we both got done laughing about that (followed by my despair at seeing all the antisemitic shit in there), the wheels in my head started to turn. There’s porn on the Internet Archive! Now, in my experience, if there’s porn somewhere where there’s not really supposed to be porn, then that means that there is other really cool shit hidden around. That’s what this post is about: here is some cool shit that I found.

1. Look at all this cool trans/queer shit

Let me start with something kind of serious, before I get to the gaming and artistic stuff. One of the few historical outlets we have for where we came from exists on this site. There a lot of trans publications from the 70s and the 80s, and probably even before then, that talk about The Culture of the era. Reading some of these as I write this, it’s actually really fucking cool to see all these girls having fun and forming communities, even as the specter of death that is AIDS loomed in the background, and Reagan’s bullshit continued unabated. And it managed to do all of this while prominently featuring trans women of color, something that today’s publications sure as fuck can’t do! Granted, some of these magazines would be considered “problematic” or fucked up by people who learned about gender through Tumblr memes, but they can go to hell. The magazines I read were some really good shit. On a personal note, I’ve been feeling less and less “weird.” Weird in the sense of pissing off The Squares. Weird in the sense that I’m supposed to be a trans(lol)gressive pervert that makes cool looking shit. Reading these has kind of helped me move back in the right direction.

it was acceptable in the 80s…it was acceptable at the time…

You don’t just have magazines. There’s radio interviews, as well as current day podcasts. An entire stand-up comedy special. Documentaries. The Wayback Machine once showed me a blog by an older trans woman who wrote about incredibly mundane shit like how much she likes the latest episode of the X-Files. Wish I could find that link again. While not trans, the Archive does have Caper in the Castro, the first (commercially, at least) LGBT video game. This is all extremely important shit.

I don’t really like to talk about gender shit much these days (outside of complaining about how fucked it is that young LGBT artists get run off of platforms for being too good at what they do), as I’ve grown too jaded for it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care, though. By now, we should all know about the bullshit lawsuits that publishing companies are filing against the Internet Archive. Bullshit lawsuit being endorsed by shameless cheerleaders like Chuck Wendig (eat shit Chuck Wendig) and NK Jemisin. Hack writers who pump out Star Wars fanfiction, mad that at least twelve people looked at their bullshit. I’ve mentioned the name Isabel Fall before. You know, the promising new author whose story on gender identity and corporate pinkwashing was the best piece of writing in 2020, and then got run offline by a bunch of shitty cis people and sellout trans women desperate for their approval. Who was one of the big names that drove her away? NK Jemisin. Wendig himself uses Randi Harper’s “I hate trannies” Twitter blocklist, and as recently as a month ago, was singling out trans women who had anything negative to say about him like the creepy weirdo that he is. Funny coincidence that they want a site with literally decades of queer culture erased because they’re too fucking stupid to realize that publishing companies are fucking them over, not some random dope who wants to read about TIE Fighters zip-zooming and blippity blooping or whatever the fuck, or are being willfully obtuse because fuck them shemales.

or it could all be because they wouldn’t want something like this preserved for future generations, right?

So yeah, fuck them and fuck anyone defending them. Keeping the Archive alive keeps our history alive.

2. Wizardry, motherfucker

Shifting gears to something more positive. Wizardry has since taken over my whole fucking life, so you better believe I’ve done a big dive into as much stuff about it as I could find. One of the cooler aspects of Japan’s obsession with the series is the amount of artists that take this goofy little computer game from 1981 and make it look cool as fuck, or give it even more humor.

Wizardry rules.

3. The Hypnotic Eye

This was a pleasant discovery to make. I had never heard of this show, and it’s understandable, given that it was a cable access show that only aired in Texas, so I’m glad that it’s here. It’s a “VHS mixtape” show, decades before those were as prevalent as they are now. Think along the lines of Forgotten VCR, except a couple decades before.

4. Old Game Magazines (mostly GameFan)

Something else I’ve talked about here and there is reading a lot of GameFan Magazine as a kid. Looking back, it wasn’t really a good magazine, and later being taken over by some alt-right dickhead (who I recently found out fucking died back in 2017, rest in piss, bitch) didn’t help it get any better. I know I’m talking about GameFan, but the following criticisms can be applied to any magazine of the time: bad writing, writers clearly on the take, schticky aliases with badly drawn avatars, juvenile dick jokes from grown men in their 30, lots of posturing over how skilled and manly they all were. Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking, but I kind of also miss it? For as bad as these were, they were at least colorful and bright and had enough screenshots to let your child brain decide if it was something you wanted to play, and had to wait about 20 years to do so.

taking a moment to use the power of hindsight and say: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Honestly, it feels like today’s games crit isn’t much different, other than looking bland as fuck and having a larger vocabulary. Both are infinitely capable of mockery.

the good old days

the modern day

Or it could just be that I’m extremely biased because for all their faults, it’s not like Nick Rox wrote an article about trying to look up a woman’s nudes on Kiwi Farms, which is more than I can say for someone like Patrick Klepek. And it’s not like Scary Larry started a harassment campaign against trans women, which is more than I can say for uh…the entire field of video games journalism since at least 2015. Also, haven’t found any shows of solidarity with sex criminals or people who treat rape victims like dog shit. Whatever, I’m petty, I don’t give a fuck.

That’s a small sample of Cool Things I Found Online. There’s more stuff to talk about, but I think I’ll save it for another post. Give us all a little something to look forward to. Hopefully, this post can help explain to you that we need the motherfucking Internet Archive!!!

lattice 200ec7

Some time ago, while chilling out in the Snesploration Podcast Discord server, as one does, I was streaming some Playstation games because we were all bored. Then the sometimes-host and also co-host of Hinge Problems, and overall Good Guy Rudie said, “hey Ramona, play Lattice!” My reaction was probably a lot like yours. “What the fuck is Lattice?” He said nothing. He only sent me a link to a lonely Google Drive folder that said RATTICE.ZIP.

The reasons why Rudie wanted me to play Lattice so bad was because he wanted to see if I could decipher what the game was. He couldn’t figure it out. Nobody else he showed the game to could figure it out. Now it was my turn to be confused.

It’s no wonder he wanted to show me this game. It’s fucking weird. Lattice manages to be both a game in an easily described sub-genre, and also a game that defies explanation. You fly down a series of tubes and rails, you shoot things, you pick up power-ups, you avoid obstacles, seems reasonable at first. It doesn’t sound any different from something like Tempest 2000, or even other PSX games like N20 or Internal Section.

Then you start to notice the changes pretty quickly. It’s not a straightforward shooter, you have to find keys by riding different sides of the rails you’re on. Every so often, an enemy will randomly appear and freeze you in place until you remember to use the “free-look” button to aim and shoot at it. The levels look linear, but are actually mazes. Confession: I have not been able to finish level 3 because the maze got way too confusing for me to figure out.

While this is all happening, keep in mind that you’re flying along at over 100 mph. Enemies and obstacles are oblong geometric shapes. There’s a constant flashing of lights and explosions. Things pop out at you immediately, giving you about half a second to react. Trying to navigate a wireframe map that you can only see a small part of. This fast, surreal game with a pounding EDM soundtrack. This is not your usual “trippy” game. After a point, it stops feeling like a game. After a point, it feels like the game equivalent of dissociating at 3 A.M. The feeling of your brain proceeding to shit itself and lose control of its cognitive reasoning. Everything is faster. Everything is brighter. The Fight Or Flight reflex is kicking in, but your body won’t respond. Nothing makes any fucking sense anymore.

And after all this, it hits me: this not your normal “weird” Japanese game. You know, the kind where if you could actually understand the language, you could decipher things pretty quickly, and the “mystery” becomes a “curiosity.” The slow, dawning horror of remembering that Rudie can speak, hear, read, and write Japanese fluently. He lives and works in Japan. Any mysterious video game that you or I can’t understand is most likely mundane for him. Rudie sent me a copy of this game because he couldn’t figure it out. It had to be sent to me, the resident Weirdo. The person who has lived and died by these one-shot Playstation games made and forgotten about before some of the people reading this post were even born. My brain is burning and patches of white are forming around my peripheral vision and the guy who speaks the language and understands the culture is confused and nothing means anything anymore.

Lattice is the one and only game made by nousite, inc. (capitalization as found). They still exist; you can “like” them on Facebook, even. nousite, inc. made this game, then dropped game development, moving into web design and then into app development for mobile devices. This only creates more questions than it answers.

It’s Lattice.

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.

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.

heiankyo alien

Meant to have a blog post done last week, but that had to wait. I ended up catching a really nasty cold, instead. Nasty to the point of losing my voice for several days, and spending all of Friday in bed, because I was so light-headed and dizzy that being off my feet for more than a few minutes didn’t end well for me.

But it all worked out. I’m feeling a bit better (my nose is still ungodly clogged, and I have a bit of a cough), and I managed to find a better subject to post about. This would have been its own special page on my site, but I got a new computer over the holidays, and as such, I’ve lost my completely legitimately purchased and honestly and ethically installed copy of Adobe Dreamweaver, so it’s a blog post. Besides, blog posts are the future. They were the past, but they’ll be the future again once people finally start listening to me. So let’s do a post about a video game!

Heiankyo Alien was a computer game, according to legend, hastily developed in 1979 by a group of college students at the University of Tokyo after a news reporter was disappointed to find out that they didn’t develop video games. But then a couple days later, the team came up with a game concept, which was apparently enough back in those days to get arcade manufacturers lined up to try and get a deal with you. Long story short, it became something of a success, and got a bunch of ports and remakes, which I’m going to be talking about here.

Now, I don’t have the original computer game, but that’s okay, because it runs like shit anyway. Instead, I have the arcade port that came out a year later.

And…it’s fine. It holds up fairly well for a game of its age, maybe not on the level of say, Space Invaders, but still good nonetheless. The object of this game is that you’re a cop running around the streets of an alien infested Heian-era Kyoto, digging holes, waiting for the aliens to fall into them, then burying them alive, joining Dig-Dug in the sub-genre of “gruesome ways to die presented as a cutesy fun arcade game.” Like I said, it’s still really fun, and totally playable today. A couple of complaints: aliens move really fast and erratically, while you move slowly and dig even slower. And unlike something like Pac-Man, there’s no set A.I for the aliens, either. They’re content to run around in any random direction they choose, which can be a problem when you have your pit defenses all set, only for the last couple aliens to fuck off to the other side of the level.

like so

Later on, we got to the real shit. A company called Meldac, which are responsible for Abarenbou Tengu/Zombie Nation on NES, which was…okay, I guess, and the fucking awesome Mercenary Force on Game Boy, did their own remake of Heiankyo Alien.

Now here’s something I don’t really talk about much, for whatever reason: I fucking love the original Game Boy library. There’s a whole list of stone cold classics that little brick had, and I would consider the GB port of Heiankyo Alien to be right up there. Ain’t even kidding; you got your Super Mario Land, your Link’s Awakening, your Batman, your Avenging Spirit, your Final Fantasy Legend 2, and then you got your Heiankyo Alien.

Fuck Tetris, this is the addicting puzzle game you need on your Game Boy/Game Boy emulator. Everything is faster now. Moving and digging is so much easier to pull off, leaving you more time to prepare your routing strategies and avoiding wandering aliens. Yes, the A.I is still entirely random, but the smaller screen size means it’s easier for them to get you. It also means it’s easier for them to fall into holes you dig. It’s a fast-paced, fun as hell game that you’ll find yourself playing for way longer than you expected. Plus there’s all these neat new gimmicks, like steel floors that prevent you from digging through them, walls that rise and fall to prevent/allow movement through them, and a boat that can take you to the opposite end of a map, but you need to wait for it to dock before you can hop on-board. It also comes with a slightly compromised port of the original arcade game, if you’re into that.

I cannot recommend Heiankyo Alien on Game Boy highly enough. Play it late at night, turn the sound down a little bit, turn up something a little heavy, and have a good time burying those aliens.

There was also an ad campaign in several magazines at the time. These ads were actually really good, especially given the time period, with all its in-your-face, my console’s dick is bigger than your console’s dick bullshit.

Really classy shit. It should be noted that these ads gave us the greatest line in copywriting history:

HEIANKYO ALIEN IS A GAME EVERYONE CAN ENJOY

There’s also a Super Famicom version of the game. It’s…there. I’m not a big fan. It looks nice, but it controls terribly, and the power-up system feels completely tacked on. Feels like it’s trying to be more like Bomberman than Heiankyo. Maybe try it out for five minutes, I don’t know.

That was how I knew Heiankyo Alien, as this really sick Game Boy game. Then, during this past week, I was informed that a new HA was released back in 2017, giving it a scoring system and aesthetic in the vein of Pac-Man Championship Edition. I threw the $13 the game cost right at my computer screen, hoping it would make the transaction go faster.

This is Heiankyo Alien 3671.

it’s a lot less confusing than it looks

You get five minutes to bury as many aliens as you can. You get score multipliers for walking around blocks, digging up hidden items, and burying aliens of the same color. It also includes the ability to distract aliens with a piece of candy, something planned, then cut, for the original computer game. The different songs included are all really good at getting into that “high-score zen” state of mind, including a hidden track you can find that’s done with the Yamaha 2612 chip, which is the same sound chip the Sega Mega Drive used. Again, it’s a very fun and addicting game that’s well worth your time, even if I think that the Game Boy game is superior due to its level design.

There’s some remade graphics, but I don’t like them as much as the old ones.

There’s not really much else to say about it other than it’s Heiankyo Alien, but with more stuff. Speaking of, there’s a greyed-out option on the main menu that caught my eye.

There was supposed to be an “idol version” of the game. I looked into it, and apparently, the Heian police officer would be replaced with one of the members of the idol group GUILDOLL. But since it’s now unplayable, with the only trance of its existence being a short WAV file of a GUILDOLL song, it’s clear that the deal ended up falling through.

This led to me actually looking up GUILDOLL, to see what they were all about. It looks like they’re not a particularly big or notable group, seeing as their shows all take place in these small venues.

Now, as someone who has been to many a small venue to check out local acts, there’s nothing really wrong with that, but you combine that tiny, intimate setting with the crowd, and there’s a problem. Watching these videos, you start to notice that there are a lot of male voices in that crowd. Older male voices. A lot of older men really excited to watch a group of young girls dance and lip-synch to a backing track. Now, I know about the grossness of “idol” culture, but it seems so much sadder and sinister when it’s happening in the kind of smoke-filled shithole I would have some drinks and listen to Ivory Circle or Danielle Ate The Sandwich in. Kind of fucked up.

But yeah, Heiankyo Alien. It rules, regardless of its format (Super Famicom not included), and you should play it.

let’s look at my old hard drive

Can’t remember the reason why, but about a decade ago, I bought an external hard drive from my old job. It’s a 500 GB deal that needs a wall outlet in addition to a USB connection. It’s old, dusty, and it stopped working once, but has since been running just as good as when I bought it.

I decided to take a look at it recently. I’ve been doing a lot of moving around and not being home due to work reasons, so it’s been fun to go through the past ten years of memories, and see what I kept on here. It’s mostly music, old games, and porn. But there’s some other stuff that I made or saved that I feel like sharing.

Here’s an old animated sprite I made of myself. I used to have this really sweet jacket that was black, with red stripes down the sleeves. And on the back was this cool drawing of the X-Men. Sadly, I no longer have that jacket.

And here’s a terrible photo I took of when I was front row at a My Bloody Valentine reunion show. To date myself, this was taken with a flip phone. The iPhone was nothing more than a Steve Jobs fever dream at this point. The show was awesome, by the way, even if I got beer spilled all over me by an over zealous security guard who absolutely needed to shove his way past me, despite being in a wide open space he could have easily navigated without making contact with anyone. The opening acts were terrible too, and probably no longer around.

I’ve been getting back into Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup lately, and I have some older versions of the game on here, back when “Sludge Elf” was a species you could be. Kind of fucked up that they were removed since, though. I mean, they are called “Sludge Elves.” That is so fucking aesthetic!

This picture of me at a college party back in 2006. I never actually went to college, but I did go to a lot of their parties.

Surviving screenshots of projects/games I started and never finished. And yeah, the term “Lonely Frontier” was something I came up with late one night, working on a text adventure about outer space that I don’t think ever made it past that one passage. I would start things, get stumped on either a technical or creative aspect, and then stop making things. That’s how I was in those days. Still kind of am today.

Here’s some music. I’ll post some songs, no rhyme or reason to them. Just stuff that’s good, and that I listened to on repeat night after night in those days.

kaela kimura- ground control
beirut- postcards from italy
motoro faam- and surface runoff
jens lekman- maple leaves

That’s pretty much it. Like I said, it’s otherwise images I saved for no real reason, roms, and such. Plus a few other things that I have a slight emotional connection to that would make absolutely no sense if I posted them. But hey, hope you liked that tour down memory lane. I’ll try to post more often now that I’m not stuck in places with bad internet.