Wrestling was on last night. I was sitting down in front of my tv, eagerly anticipating one match: the rematch between Nyla Rose and Riho. You may remember back in October when I got mad as hell at Nyla’s loss, because she didn’t just lose, but she lost via stupidity, which I thought was bullshit. On top of that, hot take: I don’t think Riho is any good. She has a terrible look, like a child pageant contestant walked down the wrong hallway and wound up in a wrestling ring, and her look of constant confusion doesn’t help. She botches all the time, maybe not on the level of Sin Cara at his peak, but she’s definitely not a smooth wrestler. She even fucked up the finish of the women’s four-way match in a spot with Hikaru Shida who is 1) really good and 2) speaks Japanese, just like Riho, so you can’t blame it on the language barrier. Riho has go-away heat with me. I understand that I’m in the minority on that, but that’s how I feel. Her and Britt Baker I cannot stand. All these great women on the AEW roster, and the faces of it are a 98-pounder who looks like a child and sucks in the ring, and the other looks like she would rather be in NXT and murdering promos in ways Ken Patera could only dream of.
Anyways. Rematch. Nyla won.
I literally screamed so loud that my neighbors had to come and check on me. I was in a Discord call, getting ready to record a new episode of Book of Megadrive, and I’m sure I killed my co-hosts hearing. I was so fucking pumped, dude. The match was great, and Nyla carried Riho to her best match in AEW.
This was an historic moment. A transgender woman of color won a title in a major American wrestling company. That’s fucking cool as shit. WWE will never do this. They would rather find a way to bury Baron Corbin alive with both world titles in his hands than let a trans person even get a whiff of the belt’s leather.
I realized not too long ago that I don’t like to talk about trans shit anymore. Talking about the feelings of powerlessness and misery don’t help me so much as they help shitheads “allies” jerk off to my inspiration porn. The only people I want jerking off to me are the dudes who call my phone sex line (or, you know, people I’m dating). Representation matters if you’re a child, but I’m 33 years old, that ship has long since sailed for me. That being said, holy fucking shit dude a trans woman won the title!
It’s a feel-good moment for someone like myself. To rub it in the face of every clown online telling me that Nyla isn’t ready, brother, as though Britt Baker is ready with her meandering promos where she spends more time talking about Tony Schiavone working at Starbucks instead of, you know, the wrestlers she is actively feuding with. It’s good to know that we don’t all have to suffer for our art. Every “successful” trans artist I know is flat broke and is only a star’s misalignment away from trying to kill themselves. I don’t know what Nyla’s contract gives her, or how big her payday was for working that episode of Dynamite, but it was certainly more than a $25 pittance from a guy who wants to look at her feet. I consider professional wrestling to be an art, and I consider art to be emotionally, but not financially, fulfilling. That Nyla gets to have both of those is fucking great. She absolutely deserves it.
Now to keep my fingers crossed that AEW doesn’t then proceed to book Nyla with a Rey Mysterio-level title reign. Nobody wants that.
When I haven’t been working on various art/game projects, I’ve found myself becoming addicted all over again to Monster Hunter. Specifically, the Switch port of Monster Hunter Generations that I picked up about a month ago.
Now obviously, this is not my first rodeo. I’ve been playing these games since the PSP days, when I got a copy of Freedom Unite at my old job. I played it for a bit, had no idea what I was doing, and put it away in my PSP case, going back to Mega Man Powered Up and that version of Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation Store. A few years later, I would get back into the game. Sort of. You see, this was before the days of fan wikis being so widespread, or YouTube tutorials that broke down every aspect of a game about five minutes after it comes out. I had no fucking clue how to play Monster Hunter. I ran around with a Long Sword, wildly swinging at things, wondering why evasive rolling didn’t work literally the same as in Demon’s Souls.
Cool thing here, while I’ve long since lost the old blog posts I made about MonHun, I still have the screenshots I took on my old PSP memory stick. Let’s take a look at them!
So, because I had in my head that this game was no different from Demon’s Souls. This included not giving a fuck about the armor I wore, to the point of going out and literally fighting in my underwear. If you are new to Monster Hunter: DO NOT DO THIS! You need those full armor sets so you can get the abilities they have. Another thing I didn’t bother with that you should do: UPGRADE YOUR ARMOR! You need that defense boost, too!
And I would eventually wise up but putting on a full set of armor. Just not uh, a full matching set.
Needless to say, I had a hell of a time getting through a number of hunts. I didn’t know how armor worked. I didn’t know that eating before a hunt would give you stat boosts. I didn’t even know that hitting monsters with paintballs would mark them on your map! I didn’t know about hiring Felynes to help me in fights! I was a dumb fucking noob, for sure.
But what fucked me up the most? Hunting the Khezu.
This Eldritch looking worm thing kicked my ass so many times. I failed so many hunts. Keep in mind, this was before Monster Hunter had online play included. In this game, it was either local, or you learned how to get good. Well, slight correction: you could play online, through a third-party app on the Playstation 3 that was Japan-only (until the end of the system’s life anyway), and when you got on, you would find more people interested in playing Final Fantasy Dissidia than anything else. Bleh.
As a result of my ineptitude, and the Khezu killing me a bunch, it ended up becoming (no pun intended) my white whale. In subsequent games, I would gun for Khezus as soon as I could, hunt them, then wear armor and carry weapons made from their parts.
Monster Hunter 4 on 3DS was the next game I played after MHFU, and this is exactly what I did. I even did the same when Red Khezus started to appear, with my hunter dressed head to toe in a bright pink rubber suit.
Quick tangent here: this will probably get me some heat, but can I just admit to thinking that the 3DS was not a good system? Like, it had great games that I spent a lot of time with (MonHun, Resident Evil, Animal Crossing, Megami Tensei), and it had a few neat features, but I feel like the system was plagued by too many games that tried to push the system to its limits, and did not succeed. I mean, I’ve never gotten very far in Pokemon Moon, because the battles are slow as shit, running at 5 FPS, because I didn’t go out and drop another $150 on a slightly better 3DS. Not nearly as fondly remembered by me compared to the previous generation’s DS and PSP. Plus for a system so reliant on online connectivity, it probably would’ve helped if it weren’t complete shit that lagged and disconnected if the wind was too strong that day.
As far as the original MH Generations went, I liked it, but I think by then I was so burnt out on MH4, and the awkward touch screen controls, and the bad internet, that I ended up not getting very far in it. Then I didn’t touch the series again until World came out. And World is amazing. A great game. But I feel like, in its desire to make the quality of life changes that it did, it kind of moved away from the spirit of Monster Hunter. It’s smooth, moves really quickly, and handles a lot of the pre-hunt prep for you. I find myself preferring the original slow, methodical pace, where getting ready for a hunt is just as important as the hunt itself. I like doing a little flex every time I heal. I like having to go from section to section on the map, instead of following the Dead Space line straight to the monster.
So I guess it’s a good thing I picked up MH Generations on Switch when it was on sale. It’s scratching all those itches. And holy shit, it really shows just how much better these games are on consoles, instead of hunched over, squinting at a handheld screen, with your hand in an awkward claw position to navigate both yourself and the camera. The online is actually not that bad, given the system it’s on. It is like night and day considering how much better Generations is on Switch than on 3DS, which ties back to my point about developers trying to make the 3DS do things it was clearly not meant to do.
I admit, I have been hooked on this game probably every day since I bought it. There’s always one more thing to do; one more part to collect to make a new weapon or piece of armor, or one more quest to finish to raise my Hunter Rank, or one more something. It is so fun.
My current problem is the amount of choice. I can’t decide on a weapon to stick with! Right now I’m bouncing back and forth between Hammers and Light Bowguns. Do I try out Dual Blades? Sword and Shield? Go back to Long Sword? They’re all so great, with their own pros and cons. Except for Insect Glaive. Fuck the Insect Glaive. Zoe’s shitty rapist ex (yeah, I know, I know, which one?) was always going on about how great that thing was when we all used to play MH4 together, so he killed that weapon for me. For all I know, it could be the best weapon, that suits my playing style to a T, but I don’t care. It’s ruined for me. But everything else? Reduces me to the most indecisive bitch on the planet.
The main reason I made this post, aside from waxing nostalgic about the PSP again, was to let/remind people how fucking good old-school Monster Hunter is. I informed one of the Discord groups I’m in that Generations was $20 a while back, and was met with “old Monster Hunter sounds like a nightmare!” Yeah, World is great, but there’s so much more satisfying weight and heft to the old games. What I’m saying is, if you’re my friend, you should be playing this with me. I’m tired of idiot randos knocking me out of combos while I’m trying to swing a hammer at a monster’s head. And plus, World doesn’t have Khezus in it, and that’s bullshit.
Let me begin this post by saying the following: I actually legitimately, unironically love Hydlide. To a lot of people, this sounds ludicrous; like my myriad of mental illnesses have finally taken over to the point where I will say with 100% sincerity that Hydlide is a good video game.
This sounds ludicrous because, outside of Japan, Hydlide has been a running joke for so many years now. Frequently torn apart in reviews, most notably with the Angry Video Game Nerd and, ugh, ProJared. Given that its two biggest detractors are a gimmick not meant to be taken seriously, and a guy who got caught showing his dick to children last year, I feel like the game deserves better in the English speaking critical world. Which is why I’m here.
I’ll try to avoid going too in-depth in Hydlide’s history, since you can just read up on that on Wikipedia, but maybe a bit of context is necessary. Hylide was released in 1984 on Japanese computers, and along with Falcom’s Dragon Slayer and Namco’s Tower of Druaga (all released within months of one another), it kicked off the whole Action-RPG subgenre. So like, The Legend of Zelda would have been a game influenced by Hydlide. And also, strangely enough, Metal Gear Solid 5.
It was a big hit in Japan. However, over here, we did not get Hydlide until 1989, five years later. So we’ve already played at least two Zeldas, Faxanadu, and several other action-RPGs that long since expanded upon Hydlide’s foundation. Hell, Hydlide 2 and 3 were already out in Japan, with the Sega Genesis port of Hydlide 3 coming out in the US later in the same year. As a result, and without any context regarding Hydlide’s influence, all people saw was this game that looked worse, sounded worse, and arguably played worse (“arguably” is an editorial insert) that games that had come out in the past half decade.
But with all that said, I still like it. Charm and personality go a long way for me. I mean, the main character is a knight named Jim. Hardly a heroic name, to be certain. Jim the Knight has to rescue Ann the Princess from a demon named Varalys, who uses his magic to turn her into three fairies, who have been displaced across the country. It’s a very simple, stupid story that I can’t help but like it. It’s a game made during a time when technology and experience wasn’t really there to put together a compelling narrative. You combine that with its very lo-fi art style that I find to be very cute, and it’s a good time.
Admittedly, a lot of my love for these old, obtuse games tends to be superficial. Lo-fi graphics, nonsensical progression that sometimes feels like you’re accidentally making progress, big fan of all that. And Hydlide is full of it. Having to find a cross out in a field, so you can fight the Vampire in the castle. Searching a grouping of trees to find the right tree that contains a fairy, the others containing a group of dangerous bees. Having to defeat the Wizard by hitting him and his magic duplicate with a single “Wave” spell, which only travels horizontally, and you have to fight in a small vertical space. Avoiding a massive dragon, burning down a tree that blocks entry to the castle it’s guarding, also the only time you have to use magic on something besides an enemy. Like, this all sounds like a game design nightmare, but I love it. I’m not sure what it is about this era of esoteric cartoon logic design, but it’s extremely appealing to me. Probably because I grew up in a time where you needed to crouch and wait for a tornado, or blow up random walls, or stand in front of a waterfall for five minutes in real time. Probably because I’ve fallen back in love with obtuse shit in a post-Demon’s Souls world. Although, quick side bar: Falcom’s Legacy of the Wizard goes way too fucking far with that shit. There is a limit to what people can take.
Here’s a secret thing for you here: in this section of the desert, you have to hit three worms with one wave spell.
And when you do, these dinosaur footprints appear in the sand, and you get a full magic meter and unlimited magic for a short time. Of course, outside of two specific instances I’ve already mentioned, magic is more or less completely useless (it was added to the Famicom version to give it some added appeal to an audience more than familiar with the PC original), but it’s cool that it’s there.
So much like me, the game is cute and weird. And also like me, it has its problems. For one, something that will make itself readily apparent the moment you start the game is that fucking music. An irritating ten second loop that’s nearly a note-for-note ripoff of the Indiana Jones theme. It’s actually the title theme to Hydlide 2, but some rocket scientist at T&E Soft thought that a short loop originally meant for an opening “PRESS START TO CONTINUE” screen would be appropriate for the length of an entire game. My advice would be to turn down your emulator and listen to something a little more appropriate. Or at least something that doesn’t even last a full thirty seconds. That being said, it may as well be Yuzo Koshiro’s entire catalogue compared to the PC music, which is best described as a five second loop of noise.
Another complaint is that, because the game is so short, the grind for experience so bosses and higher-level enemies don’t immediately kill you can be long and tedious. I’ve alleviated this by using the Hydlide Rebalance ROM Hack, which reduces the grind by a significant amount.
You may have noticed that I’ve been talking about the Famicom port, and not the original computer game. This is because I skipped over it in favor of its 1999 remake. Yes, Hydlide has not one, but at least two remakes.
And the Hydlide remake is pretty much the same thing, but with new graphics and some new sound effects that sound as though they came from AOL Instant Messenger.
Main difference is that the magic system is not implemented here, so a couple of things are slightly different. For one, to defeat the Wizard, you just have to stab him and his clone after he’s shot you with his fire spell five times. And for the castle at the end, you just hit the space bar on the empty space in front of it.
The other difference is that rather than fixing the grind of the original game, the developers instead opted to include an “Overdrive!” mode. Press O on your keyboard, and you pretty much become completely overpowered, take almost no damage, and gain experience several times faster than you would normally. You can even one-shot the final boss while in Overdrive. So yeah, Hydlide Remake literally has a “win” button.
But it does have a neat feature of being able to switch back and forth between the new graphics, and the original PC look.
You can nab this version over at the Internet Archive. Keep in mind though that it does not include the arranged CD music, so you have to live with the shitty five second loop I mentioned earlier.
There was another remake on the Sega Saturn released a couple years earlier called Virtual Hydlide. It’s really good, but I feel like it’s deserving of its own write-up, due to how vastly different it is from the original (think along the lines of Resident Evil on Playstation compared to Resident Evil on Gamecube). I did do a stream of it last year, if you got a couple hours to kill and want to watch me play the game and make jokes the whole time.
Looking through the manual for Hydlide on the Famicom, there’s something towards the end that may catch your eye. Admittedly, this is actually the main reason I made this post in the first place.
It’s an advertisement for a cross-promotional single for Hydlide Special (the name of the Famicom port). The singer in question is Mayumi Chiwaki. Her heyday was in the 80s-early 90s, followed by short comeback from the the late 90s until 2001, where she settled into a radio gig.
I was a bit disappointed at first, if only because of my own brain immediately associating all 80s J-Pop with City Pop, and the dreamy synths it contains. But that’s just me being me. The song itself is fine, and it’s definitely a far cry from the Idol shit I posted in my piece on Heinkyo Alien.
Unfortunately, you can’t just search for “ANGEL BLUE” on YouTube and hope to find the track. This is thanks to Japanese music labels and their severe allergy to anyone actually being able to listen to their music. The most you’re going to get is a guy pointing a camcorder at his record player. It’s pretty fucking grim.
LUCKILY FOR YOU, I happen to have the song, which I’ve gone ahead and uploaded.
That’s Hydlide. A weird game that deserves better, especially now that thanks to From Software, jank is back in style. Go into it understanding that thirty-something years of technology and design has since built off of it, but you should still have fun with it.
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.
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.
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.
I should open this with a disclaimer here: the events that I’ll be recounting happened all the way back in 2011. I was also very, very drunk at the time. As a result, I would pre-emptively ask any forgiveness if my memory tends to be hazy or incoherent at times during this post.
Anyways. Back in 2011, things were a little weird for me. I was at home, sitting at my computer, drinking my morning coffee, and checking my messages. While I was doing this, I heard a very loud hissing sound. There was a lot of construction going on outside my apartment at the time, so I ignored it. But I could no longer ignore it when I stepped into my bathroom, and noticed that the floor was extremely wet. That wasn’t construction work outside, the pipes in my bathroom burst, and now my floor was rapidly starting to flood. Long story short, my carpet had to be torn out and completely replaced. Twice, actually, because the first time was an incompetent rush job. And because the plumber took his sweet ass time showing up and shutting the water off (the complex’s water supply is locked, you see), I ended up with black mold on and in the walls, which meant I couldn’t stay there until everything had been fixed and cleaned up. So for the next month, I lived in a motel. Luckily, this stay was paid for by my landlord, so it cost me nothing but the headache of having to be here in the first place. I ate a lot of pizza and brownies, played a lot of Pokemon White, which had just come out (I got White because I accurately predicted everyone I knew would get Black), and got some really good sleep on a surprisingly comfortable bed.
I didn’t really have much else to do at the time, other than wait for my home to be fixed. This was also around the time that Japan had been rocked by that horrible earthquake and tsunami. In response to that, Brian Crecente decided to host a charity event. Because he used to run Kotaku, and Japan=video games, apparently. Not because it was the right thing to do or anything. This was still back when Kotaku was a garbage website with no real quality, before it had its renaissance of having a couple good pieces, mixed with “Why Agent 47 Is The Queer Representation We Need” and “Why Masturbating To Child Pornography Is Good, Actually.” Side note: that fucking child porn article caused me to have a CSA-induced flashback/breakdown combo. So thanks for that, assholes.
Crecente and I both live in Colorado, and the event was held within walking distance of the motel I was staying at. It was at Cervantes Ballroom, a place I hadn’t been to since 2005, when my old roommate and I went to see Chiodos and Portugal The Man in concert. I’m hoping the venue was chosen because its relatively large size, and not because Cervantes also happens to be the name of a Soul Calibur character.
At risk of sounding like I’m too cool for the room, because after all, I was attending an event hosted by a video game website, this was exactly what you would expect. Lots of stereotypical nerds with no real social experience huddled around game merch and a couple of consoles hooked up on the ground floor. There was a small LAN center on the balcony, so if you wanted to play Counter-Strike or Starcraft (AND NOTHING ELSE), you could do that. And on the stage? You think maybe because this a music hall, there would be a band performing? Of course not. It was only a projector, and XBox 360, and a copy of Rock Band. For anyone who is unaware, Denver has a great music scene. A lot of amazing bands would certainly be available. Or, you could watch a bunch of random weirdos play plastic instruments. That works, right?
I realized pretty quickly that I was out of place. Sure, I love me some games, maybe even too much. But I’m not, and never will be, a “gamer.” I came in wearing a nice shirt, nice pants, a sweet jacket (it was cold this time of year), things you would wear if you were out at a nice club for an event. Everyone else was wearing shitty jeans and shirts with mystery stains. Not exactly “club” material.
So as you do when you’re out at club and things are weird: you go and get drunk. And drunk I got. Apparently, as the bartenders had informed me, I was literally the only person there who ordered anything besides a glass of water. As a result, they gave me my “usual” a vodka/Red Bull combo in the Long Island Iced Tea glasses. If you’ve never seen one of those, understand that that level of alcohol, in that glass, got me fucked the fuck up in a hurry. This is where things start to become a bit of a blur.
One thing that sticks out to me is when I needed to use the bathroom. There was a line outside the men’s room. The first thing that comes to mind is, what the fuck? Why would there be a line to the bathroom at a club? They are designed to hold a large number of people. So I ask the guy at the front of the line what the deal is. His answer?
“Oh…there’s someone in there already.”
Now this is the part where I’m too cool for the room. I open the door, to show everyone that in public venues such as this, there’s more than one stall! And guess what? There was nobody in that bathroom! These people, who were all apparently adults, did not realize that there’s no line to a club bathroom. I took a piss, and walked out laughing.
Because this was an event for charity, here’s where the money raising things started to happen. Aside from the $10 cover charge, there was also an auction for various game memorabilia happening. If I had the money for it, I could’ve gone home with a physical copy of the Mega Man 9 box art, eternally tying me to that cursed game.
POINT OF THIS BLOG POST NOW
At some point during the night, I somehow managed to actually socialize with a small group of people. One of them was a cute girl in a Symphony of the Night t-shirt. That’s about all I remember about any of them. But while this was happening, and I was shaking my head at Brian Crecente’s incredibly cringe-worthy stage presence (complete with wearing a Denver Nuggets jersey and trying to speak “jive”), someone had approached us holding a small cardboard box. He informed us that it was a Lego model for some Lego game that was meant to be put up for auction, but the guy dropped it, causing the pieces to break off and leave the model unfinished. In his embarrassment, he asked us if any of us wanted it. Me, hella wasted, said yeah. I didn’t have to pay for it, and plus I got a free box to put my motel shit in. Things get really hazy after that. The cute girl talked me into going up on stage with her and her friends to play Rock Band. I think we did a Muse song. Was Muse ever actually in Rock Band? I don’t remember, and neither do you. Thankfully, for all the official Kotaku pictures taken that night, none of them feature me. Simply admitting this is embarrassing enough.
The next morning, it was dark, it was cold, and I was hung over. I spent the day opening up that box, and putting the model together.
And here it is, pictured taken literally the moment I finished it.
My apartment was eventually fixed up. I still live there now, actually. And Wall-E still sits on my desk, next to my other collectible toys.
I end this post by doing something Brian Crecente didn’t have the wherewithal to do: actually showcase a local Denver musician.
I’ll open this post with an admission: I’ve been torn on how I’ve wanted to go about writing this. The last few days have seen me writing, rewriting, scrapping and coming back to this space, trying to figure out the best way to talk about this past decade. There were a lot of great things that happened to me. There was also so much more terrible shit that went down. Things that have changed me, and not for the better. Making me want to be less of an “approachable” person, more of a recluse who doesn’t like to share their feelings. Because, for all of the great relationships I’ve made in this time, there’s still that part of me that knows how I came in to the 2010s as a relatively care-free dude making video game gif’s on Tumblr in an attempt at drawing a crowd towards the short stories and music reviews I was writing, and I came out of the 2010 a bitter trans person that everyone hates, and I hate twice as much. There are days and sometimes even weeks where I would love to drop everything and disappear into a fucking cave. And yes, I know it seems silly and maybe even hypocritical that I would make a post opening up about myself after making a big spectacle over never wanting to open myself again, but I feel like I can make an exception this one time.
I had dreams once. I had goals. I was idealistic. The desire to make things that people care about; to make my mark in a world that told me I would never amount to anything. Now? Now I just make shit because I’m too stubborn to quit now.
Let me go way back to the early 2010s for a moment. I had just left my shitty job with the weird hours that kept me from having any kind of social life. I had gotten back in touch with my old high school friends, several of whom were playing in bands. So for a good couple years or so, I would go to their shows, we would hang out, get drunk, and have a good time. Then I got the bright idea to write about the shows that I went to. Not just as music reviews, but as pieces of non-fiction about the things that went on at these venues. The people I met, the things I saw, or whatever was on display at the small art museum next to the concert hall. That’s when things started to change. I was no longer an old friend, but looked at as someone who would write glowing reviews to help make them more popular. And when I wouldn’t do that, my phone stopped ringing, and my calls were no longer answered. I was no longer useful, so I was cut out. My entire social network more or less evaporated immediately. My Bipolar diagnosis came shortly after this, so I was not in a good place around this time. One day, I stopped feeling angry and sorry for myself, and swore that I would never find myself in a position where my friendship was something to be exploited.
Then I met Zoe Quinn. And I think you all know how that particular story ended. I found myself in the same spot I swore I would never be in again. I’ll be carrying that particular guilt over being manipulated and used for a long time to come, I think.
Though, there is at least one thing that keeps me from completely losing it: unlike your Zoe’s, or Randi’s, or anyone else who thought it would be a good idea to exploit me and my friends for a few bucks, my name is not built upon pity. See, the thing about all of them, is that no matter they do, there will always be that specter of being “the Gamergate Girl” following them around. When people buy or support anything that do, it’s because they feel sorry for all of them. It’s why Goddess Mode’s sales dropped 53% in one month. My name is built on respect. When people support me, they do it because they actually like me as a person, or they think what I do is actually really fucking good. Nobody looks at my art, or plays my games, or watches my streams, or listens to my podcasts, or wears my shirt designs because they feel sorry for me. I will never rely on trying to sell my shit by saying “hey ya’ll! Play my game and trigger the alt-right today!”
It’s not much, but it is at least enough to hang my hat on.
The last five years alone have been an endless shitshow, the memories of which still plague me right fucking now. Nobody believes in anything. For all the grief that South Park (rightfully) gets for its “caring about things is stupid” message, there sure are a lot of people out there that have no problem with using it as their core belief. The people who will adopt socialist or communist language and ideologies in a cynical attempt at capitalist brand-building. People who will claim to be allies, but instead give $200 to some C-List celebrity to mumble out “uhh trans rights” on Cameo while ignoring the dozens of GoFundMe’s being shared around the internet on a daily basis. The same ones who will make empty platitudes about standing up for you, but then turn around and call Chelsea Manning a “monster” because she went to a couple of parties to try and dox Charlie Kirk. Or they stick up for Wil Wheaton after his bigoted ass got rightfully driven off of Mastodon. The same ones who will use their platforms to tell their audience to “shut the fuck up about Gamergate” and “pay attention to the real issues” while 8chan and Milo Yiannopolous are in the middle of targeting every trans women they can find en masse.
You got people who will yell, scream and carry on about sticking up for sex workers, and that SESTA/FOSTA was bad. These are the same people who gleefully turned their collective back on Alison Rapp, because she might have done some escort work in the past. Escort work, the “gross” kind of sex work; the kind that’s a bit more complicated than closing the PornHub tab after you’re done jerking off.
People who will demand that you put a content warning on a picture of your lunch, but will think nothing of sharing an uncensored video of a child getting his skull caved in by the butt of an M16, commenting, “this is like, bad, and stuff.” YOU THINK? Now, maybe I’m too old. Maybe I’m some outdated fuddy duddy who doesn’t know shit about how things work anymore, but I feel as though war crimes and police brutality are a little more distressing to look at than the grilled cheese sandwich you had today.
How about a recent thing that happened? How about having to watch a bunch of people that you care about panicking and freaking out after putting themselves on the line to try and expose Ben Judd and all the bullshit he was pulling off with Dangen Entertainment? How about seeing a bunch of notable names in the games industry immediately shit on it and say who fucking cares? We need to talk about Vinny Vinesauce! You know, because I guess doing a funny Super Mario voice in your apartment at two in the morning while playing The Legend Of Zelda is so much worse for marginalized people than abusing your position of power to expose your dick to women half your age.
Believe victims, except for these select victims, because some guy at Amazon none of them have talked to in about four fucking years said “Allyzone” once, and that’s enough to ensure that they should never be believed or supported for the rest of lives and beyond. Class solidarity, ya’ll…unless your podcast is funny or popular enough, in which case it’s totally cool to hassle retail employees on Christmas Eve; we all know that marketing and executive decisions are made by the miserable guy behind the counter. Corporations aren’t your friend, which is why we all need to strike back in the most radical of ways: buying a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 as soon as possible. Sure, the working conditions on that game were toxic and abusive as fuck, with all the profits immediately pocketed by its execs, BUT THE COYOTE PHYSICS ARE PROBABLY DOPE! And if you aren’t talking about every issue plaguing the world right fucking now, a bunch of rich white girls in the Bay Area will call you “privileged” before going back to dilating the pussies their dads bought for them and referring to anyone who transitioned in or after their 30s as “men in dresses.”
The decade is coming to a close, and I’m fucking exhausted. Ten years- ten years of being fucked over, used, treated like shit by abusive assholes, having my name and reputation dragged through the mud over things I’ve literally never said or done. Doesn’t matter if you’re a shitty pop-punk band in Denver, or a shitty game developer who’s biggest talent is dating the worst men, fuck you. I’m using this space to finally get all that anger out once and for all. And my goal for the next decade is this:
I just want to be left the fuck alone.
That’s it. Aside from a couple of exceptions, you probably noticed I wasn’t naming a whole lot of names in this post. This is because I don’t care about fighting anymore. I just don’t care. I simply wish to exist and continue making cool shit. You don’t like me? You think I’m an asshole? Great, I don’t care. All I ask is that you leave me alone. Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, don’t even think about me, and I’ll be more than happy to extend the same courtesy to you. I spent so many years waiting for an apology that would never come, and I don’t need the headache anymore.
All I ever wanted was a place where I could feel like I belonged; despite my web site’s title, being alone isn’t such a great thing. I have that now. I have my friends. I have my partner(s). I have the small communities I’m a part of. I have Black Dresses. I have Tsuchinoko Radio. I have Tekken 7. I have Bitsy. I have AEW. I have a sick new computer that runs Gamecube ROMs. I still have my creative spirit (Slimegirl Adventures 2020). I don’t need anything else. I definitely don’t need the constant bickering, or the performative bullshit, or the constant hypocrisy that gets people hurt. I don’t need the fighting, and the discourse. I don’t need the memories of the past haunting me anymore. I know I’ve said “time to move on” like a million times, but if there was ever a time to repeat it, it would be now. Will the world still be a shitty, festering hellhole? Yeah, it will. Can I do anything to change that? No, not really. I can’t be Superman, but I can at least try to do my part by being Ramona.
To everyone who has stuck by me all these years, thank you. I’m going to make 2020 and beyond my time.
Hello everyone. This is going to be a serious post. I know in my last post I was feeling pretty good, and looking forward to not being a dumb shit ass mentally ill mess. But a couple weekends ago, the shit flared up again. As always, stress is the trigger. What stressed me out was seeing some right-wing douchebag out in the wild, using my words and my thoughts about things that had happened to me involving Zoe as a way to dunk on the “SJW’s.” I know that I said that if anyone did end up doing that, it’s not my problem, and that’s true. That doesn’t mean, however, that I have to like it. Then, because I hate myself, I went down that particular rabbithole of alt-right misinterpretation. Let me tell you, it’s not cool or fun to see your abuse be ignored (and in a couple of cases, outright mocked), left to fester, and be reduced to a laughable right-wing conspiracy theory. Let’s be real here: what happened to all of us in that particular social circle was abuse. Just because I wasn’t physically assaulted doesn’t disqualify it from the term.
Of course, this all leads to my brain being a fuck, and telling me horrible shit and making me relive older traumas and not having a good time. But during all of that shit, something did come up in my tortured introspection that I can’t ignore. I’m sure that by even bringing this up can make me seem like I’m ungrateful or selfish, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m going to be selfish. I spent nearly half a decade sticking up and standing up for people. At great personal cost, even monetary, at times. People dealing with harassment. People dealing with doxxing. People dealing with swatting. All these terrible things. But when it was my turn, when my head was laid on that chopping block, I did not get a fraction of the support that I gave and continue to give. When I was getting doxxed, or all the shit that went down with Randi and Zoe. Maybe because I wasn’t the perfect victim; I’m sure (mistakenly) yelling at Scott Benson last year was the equivalent of me taking a sawed-off shotgun to what remains of my credibility. But it’s still shitty. Not even a solidarity “like” on a social media post? Again, it’s something I’ve accepted, but I also don’t have to like that, either. I am resentful about this, full stop. Putting myself out there, and getting fucking nothing in return is fucked. And you all know it’s fucked.
This next part may seem unrelated, but like every rambling post I make, it ties into a greater point. In addition to all of this shit that’s been happening, people- strangers, really, have been leaving some weird shit in my messages lately. Like, people I don’t know telling me about their day in my comments box, as if we’ve known each other our whole lives and not randos who follow me on Twitter. Real people, even, not some sophisticated bot. Getting weird ass questions at two in the morning about subjects I’ve literally never spoken about. It’s strange, it’s creepy, it annoys me. I’m getting tired of it. I guess I’ve put up with it for so long because I’ve been trying to be approachable; I didn’t want to be one of those people that comes across as intimidating. But now I’m starting to understand why people want to be intimidating.
The reason for being so approachable is because of my mental health. The shit that I’ve got? Very isolating. The kind of shit that makes you think that you need to be alone for the rest of your life, keep people away because why would you want to expose anyone to your bullshit? Of course, that’s not healthy. You need a solid support network, because you are in no position to know what’s the right thing to do. So I tend to be open, whether it’s here or otherwise, about how I’m doing, because I know how much it sucks to feel alone. And obviously, that has not been good for me. It invites a lot of bad shit my way. It’s either going to be the tranny chasing creeps with no boundaries like I mentioned earlier, or my dedicated group of stalkers that like to keep tabs on everything I do and say “look at this faggot being insane lololololololol” and posting a picture of like a rage comic or something.
All of this shit combined together has left me really feeling like, well, like shit. Like, opening myself up and showing vulnerability was clearly a bad idea that I ended up getting nothing out of. Or at least, no net gain to speak of, unless you count being left behind to eat shit and like it to be a positive. So it’s time to draw some boundaries. After this post (obviously), maybe don’t expect me to be so “out there.” Because, in doing all of this; the anti-gamergate bullshit and the mental health awareness bullshit, I ended up losing sight of who and what I really am.
I am a simple person. I like to crack jokes. I like to make cool shit. I like to talk about cool shit like video games, and music, and anime, and pro wrestling. I like having fun with my friends, even it if means being up until sunrise, which is probably a bad idea at my age. I don’t like getting into fights. I don’t like being angry and holding grudges. I don’t like being a sad sack that could only aspire to be inspiration porn. Being able to live life on my own terms, with the people I love and care for is all I really want. Obviously, I lost sight of that a long time ago. I think setting these boundaries of keeping my private shit private, in addition to actually maybe sticking to my plan of being away from places that seemingly only exist to show you upsetting and distressing things, keeping to my own website, or to any forums/discord groups I’m in, will help me in the long run. At least here I can control what goes out, and what comes in. Hopefully this helps.
My mood and general state of mind have gotten a lot better over the past couple of weeks. And it’s entirely due to getting back in contact with some old friends. People who I, and I’ll level with you here, have honestly been worried about off and on for the last few years. Hearing them all laugh and make jokes and have fun was a healing thing.
Now what does this have to do with games? That’s easy: we were all up until 4 in the morning playing The King of Fighters 2002. I don’t really recommend being up that late, especially when you’re old like I am. But if I’m going to be up that late, I’d rather it was because I was having fun playing video games, than being on Discord trying to convince someone that suicide isn’t the answer, you know?
Anyways, KOF 2002. It’s great. At least, the Ultimate Match version that we played. We got to play seriously. Then we goofed around. Then we (well, I) reminisced about playing KOF ROMs as a teenager, and really getting into the lore and well-drawn images of the pretty boy characters fucking. Also introducing my friend to DON’T BREAK MY SOUL WHOA WHOA TONIGHT
And Hazel, my friend, she’s no fucking slouch. She’s really fucking good at fighting games, actually. So it was pretty cool that I managed to hold my own and actually get a few wins. Now obviously, I wasn’t a super-stud laying the smack down, but I think I did alright.
Quick side note here: shout out to SNK for having games loaded with hot-ass pretty boys with well-defined abs. Your cheap AI annoys the fuck out of me when I try to play this shit single player, but I can at least admire the dudes.
Myself, Hazel, and Gabi, we all got together and did some lobbies in Skullgirls, as well.
I’m not very good at Skullgirls. I like to play as Beowulf, though, so I can annoy everyone with my immense knowledge of Pro Wrestling.
In any case, it was good to get back in contact with people I care about. I’ve been kinda stewing in my own mental illness on my own for the last few months, and that shit will drive you crazy. So to get pulled out of that is really great, and it’s led to me feeling pretty darn good. Think I might bother them for some more games soon.
Plus, nobody’s asking me to play any fucking Overwatch, thank fuck -_-
I was originally planning on doing a happier post, probably something about video games. But uhh, given my last post, the tonal whiplash would probably be too much.
So instead, I’m going to talk about CM Punk.
When I last did a post about Sports Entertainment (when I got worked into a shoot over Nyla Rose losing on the first episode of AEW Dynamite), I mentioned that I was a HUGE Punk fan. Ever since his infamous “pipe bomb” promo which, in a single night, got me back into wrestling after a years-long hiatus. Quite possibly one of the most captivating moments a wrestler has ever had on the microphone.
And I would watch every show, every week. I would watch streams of the pay per views. I would hate most of it. Despite Punk, this was still the tail end of the “Guest Host” era, where a random selection of celebrities would “host” Monday Night Raw, obviously not wrestling fans, and could not give a fuck. Weird booking decisions that made no sense other than to piss off the fans: such as the infamous Daniel Bryan-Shamus match at Wrestlemania 28, or the petty, childish burial of Zack Ryder. A smarter person would have stopped watching. But I kept on, despite constantly complaining. Yeah, the storylines sucked, talent was being held down, Vince McMahon showed open contempt for the audience, and everything positive about the shows was overshadowed by the haunting specter of John Cena vs Randy Orton part 849. BUT! Despite the talent being held down, they were still, you know, talented. I might have hated the finishes, the badly scripted promos, and hearing fucking Nickelback and Green Day every goddamned week to open the shows, but I could least count on the matches being good despite all that.
Keep in mind, this was before New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, or the recent rise of every indie promotion worth their salt had easier access to their shows. Streaming services for wrestling was still in its infancy. Either you bought DVD’s by the truckload, or you sat there and watched whatever crap you saw on TV. And seeing how the closest competition WWE had was TNA (a company that is only just now starting to shed it’s nearly twenty year reputation as an industry punchline), there was a lot of crap.
But back to Punk. He became a symbol for fans. He was a representation of what fans wanted, and what WWE didn’t. Punk didn’t have the gross bodybuilder physique that Vince can’t keep from being Horny On Main over. His tattoos weren’t a series of generic tribal designs that every fucking wrestler of that era (and even now, really) absolutely had to have. He was a scraggly, dirty looking man who didn’t try to make himself “kid-friendly.” He was a wrestler, in a time when leaked WWE memos literally banned wrestlers from calling themselves that (you’re a Superstar, dammit!). His rise to the top was in spite of WWE plan’s, not because of it. CM Punk made it cool to like wrestling again, for better and for worse.
Then he walked out.
We all listened to his obscenity-laden appearance on The Art of Wrestling podcast. We heard how horribly he had been treated: working with an untreated staph infection for months, with WWE’s quack doctor opting to pump him full of z-paks until Punk finally shit his pants in the middle of a match. Getting fired on his wedding day, with his wife’s contribution to WWE’s current women’s division being completely erased from history. Punk very well could have literally died wrestling for WWE, becoming yet another name among the staggering list of casualties that company has claimed. He was treated like shit on and off screen, so he left. He had my support, and the support of a lot of other fans.
The name “CM Punk” became a rallying cry of sorts. If you didn’t like the bullshit WWE was trotting out in front of you, simply chant his name and watch the McMahon family visibly wince. His departure, and the subsequent lawsuits and count-lawsuits he won clearly hurt them more than they let on. While I’m no fan of millionaires, I tend to be a bit more lenient with athletes. You put your body on the line for years for the benefit of soulless billionaires who don’t give a fuck if you live or die? Fuck it dude, get that money. Punk got out with his health, his partner, and the knowledge that he got even more money by suing the shit out of a racist asshole. He could have spent the rest of his life never wrestling again, going to hockey games, writing for Marvel, and getting his ass kicked in the UFC, and I still would have been a fan.
Then this bullshit happened:
There’s always talk of wrestlers destroying their legacy. Obvious names like Chris Benoit and Jimmy Snuka come to mind. Then you have guys like The Undertaker, once the single-most respected man in wrestling, undoing a twenty year career by constantly coming out of retirement solely to work WWE’s Saudi Blood Money shows.
CM Punk destroyed his legacy in under a minute. Do I think he’s a “sell out?” Yes, I do. Let me explain why.
Aside from the obvious “they literally nearly killed you” and “keeping you tied up in lawsuits as recently as last year, with Vince McMahon openly bragging on national television his attempt to bankrupt you,” there’s the politics. Punk claims to be a left-winger. He hates Republicans. He was one of the first people to publicly support Laura Jane Grace’s transition, and routinely shit talks bigoted fans on Twitter. And then here he comes, walking back into WWE. Not even WWE, but a WWE-brand talk show that airs after midnight on a network known for low ratings because nobody can ever fucking find it. WWE, the same entity that spent 114 times more money on Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign than Trump himself did. As I mentioned earlier, they’re currently in a ten year deal to provide propaganda for the Saudi Royal Family. There are entire books and documentaries on the horrific treatment of their talent going all the way back to the 80’s. Why go back? At least when Mauro Ranallo went back, it was understandable. Mauro is a guy who works three different commentary jobs so he can afford to spend most of 2019 in a mental hospital to avoid killing himself. A mentally ill man not wanting to be sued into oblivion by a notoriously petty wrestling promoter is a situation that deserves sympathy for Mauro, and outrage at Vince. CM Punk got paid five million dollars to get his ass handed to him by Mickey Gaul in about a minute, what excuse does he have?
This isn’t 2011 anymore. WWE is no longer the only game in town. And if Punk didn’t want to go to AEW, maybe he could’ve gone to New Japan Pro Wrestling! Maybe he could’ve gone back to Ring of Honor! But instead, he went back to the alt-right assholes that tried to kill him. Fuck him.
Punk destroyed his legacy, and it doesn’t really matter. When WWE fucks up, people don’t chant “CM Punk,” they chant “AEW.” If we really want to cheer for a rich white guy that stands for everything WWE doesn’t, Cody Rhodes is right there. Speaking of, a new episode of Dynamite is tomorrow. And while AEW is far from a perfect example of inclusion, at least they’re not funding fascism or making fucking blackface t-shirts. That’s the kind of place that Punk so clearly wanted to return to. He himself admitted that his attempt to “make change” while under WWE’s Independent Contract didn’t work, so who he is trying to fool here?
I can’t help but take this personally just a little bit. The thing about enjoying pop culture and getting behind a performer when you exist in some sort of societal margin is that little fear in the back of your mind. Does this person see me as a human? Am I going to cheer and buy this guy’s merch, only for him to turn around and have a problem with people like me? Or other people who aren’t white dudes? Until now, Punk never gave me that impression. But with his return, he has told me, without saying a word, that money is more important. For all his constant jabs at the McMahons being out of touch, he can go ahead and put that label on himself. But hey, it’s okay, because he might say that a storyline is bad! On a WWE talk show that nobody watches. How rebellious.
Normally, when I write entries like the one that I just did, I tend to get cold feet soon after and delete it. Mostly because I’m either worried about backlash, or even worse, some right-wing dipshit using my experiences as some piece of evidence in the never-ending trial of Idiots vs Feminism.
I will not be taking this one down. These are my thoughts. These are things that happened to me, and so I wrote them down on my web site which I own. If some craven opportunist wants to misinterpret it, that’s not my problem.
As far as my current mental state goes, it’s a little better. Finally getting all of that out and no longer internalizing it was helpful. Obviously, putting my emotions out there like that did hurt quite a bit, so I’m still in “recovery mode.” Trying to avoid the noise that the internet provides, keeping to myself as best I can. I’m finally home from this work bullshit Friday afternoon, so I can get back to doing cool things with my art tools. My next post, whenever that is, should be a bit higher in spirit than this. This was, like I said, something I needed to put out there, and now it is. For good this time.