birthday post

My birthday was on Saturday. I’m 34, which means that I am now officially Too Old For This Shit. Be nice to me, or go to hell. Anyways, here’s how my day went.

I began my morning by watching some TV, while drinking my morning coffee and checking out the results of the Italian Grand Prix qualifying round. First of all, holy shit @ Lewis Hamilton setting the fastest lap time in F1 history, even after the FIA put his car at a handicap because he was winning too much. And shout out to Pierre Gasly breaking the status quo and winning the race itself today after all the shit he’s been through.

But back to my TV. I don’t watch a lot of it. Dynamite every week, and maybe some reruns of Bar Rescue. But I was flipping through the channels anyways, and what did I find?

MOTHERFUCKING TRAIN CRUISE

Granted, it was a rerun from last Summer, but still. Train Cruise on my big ass TV. And to top it all off, it’s not an episode that I was able to find online (I double-checked before I started writing this). Between the races and this, I was feeling pretty good about the way the day was going to go.

I also wanted to check out my Animal Crossing town before I left the house. I wanted to see what was in store for the Birthday Bitch.

It was a sweet little party with a cake and a pinata. But I wanted to walk around, and see what the rest of the town was doing that day.

K.K Slider holds a special concert for you! That’s cool! And as this happens, various villagers leave these sweet messages for you.

Very nice.

Now it was time to leave. The plan for the day was that I was going to go to this sort of new mall (rebuilt after getting fucked the fuck up in a hail storm) with my mother. I was going to get her to buy me the new Tony Hawk, and then we would have pizza, and then I would go home. I didn’t plan on being out all day, 1) mostly due to COVID; hell, I felt bad just being out there for non-essential reasons in the first place and 2) it reached 100 degrees outside, and it was way too fucking hot.

So of course I ended up getting Tony Hawk as a gift. I also bought myself a couple pairs of pants.

If I ever decide that I want to cosplay Leo Kliesen, I’ve got half the outfit ready to go. We can pretend that the stripes are the right color.

My thoughts on the Tony Hawk remasters are that they fucking own. Something I don’t talk about much, because the topic doesn’t come up, is that Tony Hawk 2 is one of my absolute favorite PSX games, and probably one of my favorite games ever. I was also a bit wary, not going to lie, because this would have been the third PSX game getting remade for the PS4 that I was getting, after Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy VII. Great news, unlike those two games, Tony Hawk 2 was not fucked with. It is exactly what it claims to be: Tony Hawk 1 and 2 with some extra stuff. Extra music, extra skaters, all sorts of cool new shit added to the custom skater and custom park modes.

I’ve finished all the Tony Hawk 2 levels (because of course). I’ll eventually make my way over to the first game, even with the downhill levels that nobody except for Hawk himself actually likes.

A neat thing about this game is that the custom skater option lets you make an exceptionally non-passing trans skater. This is not a complaint; I think it’s great that you can have women with masculine features, or men with feminine ones. I felt it was going against the spirit of skateboarding if I made myself look like some smoking hot model, instead of a grungy transsexual who doesn’t give a fuck.

I also bought myself a copy of F1 2020 on PC, because of course. It’s another awesome racing game with a fun new team management mode. The character creation isn’t as robust as Tony Hawk’s, but hey, being able to customize my livery and team uniforms is cool too.

Sad news: the pizza place we were planning on going to was closed. Instead, I ordered some noodles from a local Chinese place, and that was my dinner. Ate that, and some cake, while watching AEW All Out. All Out was a really fun show, aside from Matt Sydal fucking up his Shooting Star Press literally the minute he debuted, and Matt Hardy’s really scary concussion.

A really fun day, overall. Got some cool stuff. People were really nice to me, both on and offline. The racing was good. The wrestling was good. On top of all this, guess what? I’m now two whole years sober, motherfucker! Not a single drop of alcohol has touched me. Admittedly, it’s been hard as fuck, especially when you got assholes out there really testing my patience and willpower as of late. But I held strong, and pulled through. I have to remind myself of the good things I have in life, and fight the urge to go off on people who caused/continue to press old traumas. The best revenge is living well. Their bullshit shouldn’t be my business anymore. I don’t work in their industry. I’m not in their social circles. I should stop giving a fuck. As I said, I’m now too old for it. Be nice to me, or go to hell.

3DOFace #1: neurodancer

The 3DO. It existed. It didn’t do well (I mean, obviously). Bad marketing in an oversaturated market, a confusing distribution system, and a price tag of Way Too Much Fucking Money, it was doomed as soon as it left the starting gate.

But to its credit, the 3DO had some good games. It had some games that at least tried to be good (Immercenary, what could have been). Kenji Eno loved the system, and when Kenji Eno speaks, wise men listen.

Another line of praise for the 3DO is that, among its many genres it covered in its software library, it had one that no other system of the time had: Pornography! Hell yeah, motherfucker! Imagine, you’re playing Star Control 2, or Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, when The Mood strikes. The internet isn’t quite what it is today back in 1994. Maybe you don’t feel like fumbling around trying to get your VCR set up, or looking around for your back issues of Penthouse. You need to crank one out right fucking now, but there is too much work involved. Then you remember that, in addition to an arcade-perfect Super Turbo and Samurai Shodown, you bought some Adult Entertainment for your Real Panasonic 3DO Interactive Multiplayer! For $700 (plus an additional $60 per game), you could own a video game system where you can look at a pair of massive himmer-hommers.

Neurodancer is one of these pieces of software. And oh man, is it a piece of something, too.

I’m not a person to discount something simply because it’s pornographic in nature. As an actual sex worker, that would be immensely stupid and hypocritical of me. Even if I wasn’t, I’ve played way too many hours of House Party (how’s it goin’ dude?), and have no place to judge. Being a pervert, I’m totally okay with video games merging with porn. It’s not sad or pathetic to own or play porno games.

Unless it’s Neurodancer.

Neurodancer gives you a first impression of actually having a unique concept and atmosphere. As the title no doubt gave away, this is set in the far, dystopic, cyberpunk future. And as the title also no doubt gave away, it’s supposed to be a take on Neuromancer, but with titties, instead of #StillWithHer Neoliberalism and tranny jokes so tired that even 4chan would roll their collective eyes (suck my ass, William Gibson). You would expect way too many neon lights and mega corporations and xenophobic paranoia about the Japanese becoming the leaders of world industry, but now there is sex too. You would expect these things, yes. You would also be wrong!

The synopsis of Neurodancer is that you, the main character, are some sort of horny hacker. You’re two months behind on rent, facing eviction and/or your knees getting broken. What do you do in this situation? You sit in your dingy, nearly pitch black apartment and send your slow moving unmanned drone out into a series of identical hallways, breaking into terminals for credits (money), so you can watch cam shows on your holographic TV.

Let me take a moment to put that into perspective, before I get into the parts where women take their clothes off. You are in debt. Zero dollars (sorry, credits) to your name. And to reiterate here, your solution is to hunt for loose change so you can look at porn. That’s like an addict combing through the carpet for a loose pill. You clearly have a problem, and the game is not finished with highlighting your sad existence just yet.

Here’s the interactivity: slowly (and I do mean slowly) trudging through a hallway, occasionally turning so you find a terminal. Hacking? Pressing a button, then pressing a button again before the Cyber-Police bust you for being jacked in (lol) for too long. Time your button presses right, and you get more credits.

(Now this is the part where I tell you that I’m posting nudity from here on out. Maybe don’t read this post with your mom in the room.)

Your reward for doing this, and your entire reason for continuing to exist, is to watch a girl dance and eventually get naked.

When I said that they “eventually” get naked, I wasn’t kidding. Those clothes are nearly bonded to their bodies.

hey, at least you can zoom in and out with the shoulder buttons!

Something you may have noticed in these screenshots is that number going down in the lower right. That’s your money, and it goes down by 100 every time you interact with the women. See, they dance, then suddenly stop, you have to pay them to continue. All with no guarantee that an article of clothing will be removed. I have no idea what the Credits-Dollars exchange rate is, but I have to imagine that this is (pardon me for referencing current events) a Bella Thorne level rip-off. Keep in mind, there is no “full” nudity to Neurodancer. Yeah, you’ll see some titties, and about half of a bare ass, but that’s it. Maybe Trip Hawkins drew the line at seeing someone’s spread asshole on his gaming console.

600 credits gets you some titties
700? part of a butt! oohh baby!

I’m not bringing all this up as a complaint. I knew going in that the 3DO’s adult library would be the most mediocre of mid-90s softcore bullshit. But this all does bring up the overall pathetic nature of Neurodancer’s protagonist. Not paying rent in some shitty apartment, probably not taking care of themselves either, all to spend hundreds of dollars for something that looks like the old Desktop Stripper that was advertised on seemingly every sketchy website twenty years ago. In our current dystopic cyberpunk future, pretty much any fetish you have can be catered to for about $20 on ManyVids. I guess sex workers of the future realize their worth a lot better than we do.

One more thing, mid-90s FMV was definitely not up to the task. The thickest thing on these girls’ bodies are their pixels.

Through all of this, I haven’t gotten to the worst part. The interactive segment! When the girl of your choice finally gets nude, or nude enough I guess, another screen opens up, and you can actually touch them. Probably. I think.

What’s so weird and fucked up about this is that you think you might be able to do something like cop a feel or give a light smack on the ass or something. Fuck that. You’re here to really please a woman. It’s possible that I’ve been doing it wrong over the course of my adulthood, but I’m not entirely sure that success in the bedroom involves stroking a woman’s hair or rubbing her behind the ear like a fucking cat.

think i’m joking here?

That’s Neurodancer. Blow hundreds, if not thousands, of points of cyber-currency to watch a naked woman dance. Then, when you finally get a chance to actually touch her, you instead limply drag the back of your knuckles all over her. It’s like a sadder version of Hoverhands. Here’s your reminder, over a thousand words later, that this was designed for you to masturbate to.

If you think I’m going back and getting screenshots for the other two dancers, you’re out of your fucking mind. This sucked. I’d be so pissed off if I spent actual money on this, rather than grabbing the ROM off Internet Archive. I plan on continuing the 3DO-Face series; hopefully the other sex-based games on here are at least funny or interesting.

Let me finish this off (lol again) by laughing at the terrible intro. This bullshit here is some prime “Cinemax on Saturday night” material.

“yep, that sure is a woman getting naked on my computer screen! time to put my hands behind my head in a ludicrous, exasperated fashion!”

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.

more f1! holy shit!!!!!

My last post ended with me being real bummed out over F1 games not being super great, and me contemplating picking up the new Codemasters F1 game at a certain point.

Well, days later, Humble Bundle is like, “hey, we’re giving F1 2018 away for free.” And then I’m like, “I’m there, dude!” Maybe several generations of hardware later, F1 will get a really good game.

I’ve been playing this for a few days now, and I knew that I needed to make a blog post about this. Because, holy shit, what a nice coincidence that this would fall right in my lap so close to my last post.

Now, did F1 finally get a good game? It did! 2018 feels so fucking good once you’re out on that track. Cars feel nice and rumbly (this is a word now). It’s extremely satisfying when you nail a corner perfectly, gaining that burst of speed so you can overtake the driver in front of you or set the fastest lap time. Even more satisfying when you’re overtaking Lewis Hamilton, who’s like my favorite driver right now. He goes out, gets in his car, gets a podium finish all the time, winning without a tyre, and then he makes assholes angry by doing stuff like this:

He rules.

Anyways, the game. For the career mode, I joined McLaren, because of course. I mean, there’s a lot of history with that team and Ayrton Senna, and as someone way too nostalgic for that transition period of the late 80s-early 90s, McLaren is extremely appealing to me. McLaren is not “high-tier” team; Mercedes and Ferrari are, but they’re fine. Let me pick McLaren, then sit back while listening to some Casiopea, think about Sega, and indulge myself completely in being a piece of shit nostalgia mutant.

Cool thing is, you can make your own driver. This includes women, something that is, uh, a bit lacking in the real deal. Anyways. This woman (me) took 4th place in the Australian Grand Prix. Would have been 2nd, but I had to go and get a penalty for an accidental illegal overtake. I then moved up to 2nd place in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Would have been 1st, but then Lewis Hamilton suddenly got fast as fuck out of nowhere and overtook me on the final lap. Probably because I still don’t take corners as well as I should. But hey, getting a podium win while wedged between two Mercedes drivers is nothing to sneeze at, let alone be ashamed of.

I’m still pretty early on in the career, so I haven’t run into any kind of off-track drama, assuming that it’s there in the first place. No team owners throwing me under the bus. No cringe-inducing press conferences with that (I’m assuming) Danish guy that takes around an hour to ask a question. No ending a friendship with another driver because our (justifiably) large egos can no longer coexist. None of that. You just get that awesome on-track drama: screaming down a straightaway at 300 km/h. Narrowly avoiding collisions with drivers just as eager as you to win. Dealing with sudden technical issues, and having to make that heartbreaking decision to pit when you’re so close to the end. Just a driver and their skills, combined with their car, and the skills of their engineering team. The things that make F1 so appealing to me.

I’m going to keep playing this. I want to get further in and see where the season takes me. This games rules, and F1 is an good-ass sport, and I’m loving everything right now.

i’m getting into f-1

A couple months back, I watched this really good documentary on the career of Ayrton Senna, who is considered to be one of, if not the, best driver in the history of Formula 1 Racing. My appreciation for auto racing has been extremely casual at best, with me playing a bunch of Gran Turismo 6. I don’t know shit about cars, and I’m also a terrible driver in real life, prone to an anxiety attack if I have to do anything more complicated than going to and from the grocery store (and even then). But two months go by, and I wake up yesterday morning and I say to myself, “fuck it, today is the today I get into F1!” Do I have a team or a driver that I want to support yet? No, because I am a stupid person who decides to become interested in things on a whim. Right now, my level of fandom is “watching YouTube videos covering its history, then watching highlight videos of last weekend’s races and enjoying watching the cars go fast.” Car go vroom, baby.

Since I’ve sort of written myself into a corner and extensively talk about video games, I thought I’d put these two interests together, play a bunch of 16-bit F1 games, then do short reviews of them.

First one is Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II. Let me just go ahead and temper your expectations for this piece and tell you that this is probably the best of the bunch, and that’s not exactly a high bar to clear. It’s not terrible or anything; another game in line with Sega’s other Super Scaler stuff, like Outrun, Space Harrier, et al. You hold down a button and you accelerate. You hold another button to brake. You steer and change gear shifts with the D-Pad. It looks nice, had some good music. Very much a Racing Video Game By Sega. I suppose the biggest issue is that there’s nothing really special about it. Well, that and the fact that it’s hard to gauge what you can see (this game uses first-person viewpoint) vs where your car actually is on the track, meaning that it’s very easy to hit other cars if they’re too close to your peripheral vision. This is bad.

Otherwise, Super Monaco GP 2 is pretty solid. If you were a kid with a Genesis and this was the only game you had, you could absolutely have some fun with it.

Something I don’t find myself saying very often, but if nothing else, this game probably has the most stylish menu screen I’ve ever seen. A digitized, pensive Senna off the track, in repose.

 

Next game on the list is Final Lap Twin. Here’s the other good one I played. But I mean, it’s a racing game by Namco; those guys have to go out of their way to fuck that up. I did about ten seconds worth of research, and discovered that this was a sequel to a sequel to Pole Position. So this would be Pole Position 3. Or maybe Pole Position 4, since there was a Pole Position 2? Maybe I should have done eleven seconds of research.

It has another pretty cool menu. And I know you’re eyeing that “QUEST” option at the bottom. I’ll get to that. There’s some F3000 racing, but I don’t give a fuck about that shit, give me those expensive, elitist cars in F1!

Final Lap Twin has this split-screen view at all times, even if you’re playing single-player, which is kind of annoying. Not sure why Namco did this. It wasn’t for performance reasons, because doing two viewpoints at once like this would make the game run worse. It can’t be because the dev team wanted you to also focus on your rival/teammate, because they also show up on the minimap up top. The game plays well, and it’s fun, but I hate this.

So that QUEST mode? It’s a racing RPG.

The big problem? Unlike the rest of the game, it is entirely in Japanese. Unfortunately, my Japanese comprehension is still terrible; I only know that “cheesu” means “cheese.” As a result, I couldn’t get very far.

Then things start to get weird. A racing RPG? Yeah, sure, that makes perfect sense, actually. Driving is an acquired skill, and like all sports, you constantly strive to get better. An RPG is a fine, uh, vehicle for that. But in this mode, you aren’t driving F1 cars? Or even F3000 cars? No, you control a Mini-4WD. Notice I said “control” there. That is because, if you weren’t aware, Mini-4WD’s are toys. Remote-controlled cars placed on a small track. Think along the lines of the Pocket Circuit mini-game from the Yakuza series and you’re on the right track (need to stop with these inadvertent car puns). So instead of being the best Formula 1 driver in the world, you are now a kid who goes around beating other kids in a battle of who has the better toys. Don’t get me wrong, that could be a perfectly compelling concept for a game (again, Yakuza’s side-plot did it really well), but I wanted a role-playing game about F1 Racing, and I didn’t get it here. Might be worth looking into again someday if there’s ever a fan translation, or if I ever learn more than 10% of the Japanese language.

 

F-1 Dream is up next. Hell of a title. And hey, Capcom is involved. Surely, this should be good, right?

No. It really isn’t.

See, the thing is, for whatever fucked up reason, the PC-Engine was home to this strange and perverse sub-genre of racing games (F1 or otherwise) that were all 1) overhead, which is great when you’re controlling a fast moving object and can’t see what’s in front of you and 2) had weird control schemes where instead of moving left on the d-pad to move left and right to move right (you know, like if you were driving a car), you had to press the direction based on the course; if you were moving down, instead of turning left or right on the steering wheel to get into position, you press down on the d-pad. It’s stupid, and you will never get used to it.

The thing about this game is that you don’t start as an F1 racer. That is a right that must be earned. I must admit that I was not up to the F1 Dream challenge, because the shitty perspective and bad controls kept me from winning the very first race.

 

F-1 Pilot- You’re King of Kings is next. These shitty games need to stop having awesome titles, so as to keep easily impressed idiots like me from playing them.

Here’s what you need to know: this game sucks. It fucking sucks so fucking bad. This might very well be the worst game of the bunch. It looks like shit. It sounds like shit. It plays like shit. I fucking hate this game.

oh, you wanted music AND sound effects? fuck you, asshole!

What’s the problem? Easy, there is no way of knowing where you are going. Even if you study the pre-race map screen, you are not going to know when or where to make a turn. Turns come at you in the blink of an eye, with no road signage, no mini-map, no pit crew radio in your ear, no nothing. You either drop your speedometer by about 150 km or you are going off that track, asshole. Every single time. It’s bullshit.

 

I hate having to shit on most of these games, because other than Super Monaco GP, these all on the PC-Engine, which we all know is the preferred gaming console of God, if He had a favorite video game system. But these games are really bad, and a stain on a system with an otherwise mostly stellar library.

 

This is F-1 Circus. Probably a mistranslation of F-1 Circuit. This game was almost good. It has some pretty cool aesthetic touches, like the cars being loaded onto the track before a race. And even though it’s another overhead racing game, it stick to a control of left going left and right going right. Problem? Controls are extremely fucking touchy. You either barely move in the direction you press, or you straight up turn 90 degrees on a dime and collide into a wall. Not helping matters is that game goes really fucking fast. Ridiculously fast. As in, I had to double check and make sure my emulator was not in fast-forward fast. I think you can see a problem here. I’m sure that if I really stuck to it, I can manage the controls and the speed and find something here, but I think I’d rather go back to Super Monaco, or for that matter, finally getting around to unlocking the F-1 races in Gran Turismo 6.

I had other games that I was going to write about, but this has gone on long enough, and they’re all bad, and I can only take so much. A real fucking shame that these games were, at best, kind of decent. Like, F-1 racing in Japan was a major deal throughout the late 80s until Ayrton Senna’s untimely death in 1994. And this was the best they were getting. That fucking sucks, dude.

Oh well, fuck it. I hear good things about that F-1 2020 game. Might check that out. Maybe by then, I’ll be a more knowledgeable fan.

retail memorabilia #4

Been digging through some boxes I’ve got in storage, and I found some things. So it’s time for another blog post.

I got some promotional lanyards. Yeah, I know, not that exciting. But they’re kind of neat, right?

This one is pretty generic. It’s just a lanyard promoting the PS3. It’s fine, I guess.

Now this one looks like another generic PS3 lanyard. But if you turn it around:

It’s actually a promo lanyard for Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. You know, the GT that everyone loved, and wasn’t a shameful, arrogant act of charging money for a fucking demo. The fucked up part is that I actually bought the thing, so I’m not really in much of a position to complain. Though I can at least say I bought it when it was discounted. Never really got far in the game (the demo), because I deleted it for hard drive space (this was on my old 80 gig system), and then I got GT6 and never looked back. A weird time for Sony, given that their executives had all suddenly decided it would be a good business decision to inject steaming hyena shit directly into their brains.

I actually used to have two of these. I gave on to a friend that I have not spoken to in over a decade. She reacted to me giving her the news that I had just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder by completely vanishing and never talking to me again. So, you know, thanks for that.

The last one I have here is a bit more unusual, mostly because of the game it’s promoting. And also because it’s a PS2 game, and this is when that system was being phased out.

But yeah, Rogue Galaxy. This was given to me by Sony themselves, so they had an interest in wanting people to play the game. Unfortunately for them, it was against corporate policy for us to actually wear any of these while on the clock, so their brand awareness strategy was a complete failure.

It even has this promo card with all of its marketing bullet points.

Never played Rogue Galaxy, but boy howdy, does “over 8 hours of cinematics” fill me with a sense of dread. I hear the game is good. Might try it out someday.

Look at this. Sony, or whoever, went out of their way on this thing. It even has these little molds of the characters. Okay, granted, they look like shit, but it wasn’t like the Gran Turismo one had a rubber car on it. Probably had to pay for another lanyard later on that had one. Their heart was in the right place, at least.

Something you’ve probably picked up on with all of these posts is that Sony really, really liked to give you free stuff. Microsoft might give you a button or a pen once in a while. Nintendo wouldn’t give you shit, except for the rudest asshole vendor who would mouth off to you if you tried to give him any kind of instruction, and because he didn’t work for you, you couldn’t fire his bitch ass. What I’m saying here is that I’ve hated Nintendo of America long before they fired Alison Rapp. Sony, though, they were nice and easy to work with. Which is a blessing when you’re stuck working a shit job as a retail manager. Still not all that interested in the PS5, I must say.

7/6/2020

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

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

the picture that gave every millennial nightmares

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

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

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

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

Then there was The Maxx.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…thanks?

internet seclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

trains rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sailor and the 7 ballz: hyper fighting

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

giving alisa bosconovich the “k dash” look

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

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

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

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

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

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

but hey, at least you could play as cell

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

i like cell

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