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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!