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Yet More Seafish

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Gorgeous.

This is the main word to use when describing Pokemon X for me. The graphical style takes center stage in this sixth generation of Pokemon games, and there’s no lie there. It’s clear that Game Freak put their heart and soul into the look of this game, and it pays off. The style is colorful and smooth, designed to look good no matter what frame you’re in. It marks the perfect transition from 2D to 3D for the series, evolving the look but still leaving in enough visual cues to give the player a familiar experience. Despite the ability to move diagonal, the world is still based on tiles and simple architecture for the most part, and covers up the tilework to create nice changes in scenery. It’s one of the best looking games on the 3DS thanks to the well-chosen style.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the only real evolution in this generation, though. Okay, besides the obvious mega evolutions. While there are plenty of little tweaks to the formula, X and Y plays things rather safe, in fact. The story has gone back to simpler routes that fit right into the formula set in all previous generations but the 5th. No longer does the bad team control the plot and hound you at every turn. No longer do the gym leaders become plot relevant. In this story, it’s largely just you and your “friends.” These friends just didn’t strike me like the ones in Black and White did, and Team Flare didn’t bring out their characters like Team Plasma did for Cheren and Hugh. Maybe that’s just me. I think the best interaction between the player and Serena/Calum. I laughed out loud a few times at the end of rival battles because of the way Serena looked despondent and I looked just happy to be alive. There’s got to be some kind of UST there.

If it isn’t clear already, this game hasn’t torn White from its spot as my favorite game. My theory as to why it didn’t work is pretty simple. With Pokemon Black and White, they were creating a new generation on old hardware, and this forced them to innovate. They had to give the Pokemon personality through animations, pushing the 2D sprites to their limits, and they had to create something visually dynamic. They could do this because they now had a mastery over the DS technology, and thus made a game that soared on things the series hadn’t seen yet. X and Y simply focused on its visual style. Moving to 3D was a big deal, and X and Y plays on that very well, it just sacrificed a lot of the last generation’s awesome additions in the process.

I’m surprisingly not as bitter about the inclusion of older Pokemon as I thought I’d be. The new visuals and Mega Evolution mechanic help to make old Pokemon feel new. I personally stuck to new Pokemon aside from Venusaur and Scrafty, but it was cool to see some old favorites given new life. The Mega Evolution mechanic is pretty cool. Some look better than others, and it’s pretty fun to hit that button and watch the sparks fly. Considering they give you a generation one starter that will have this ability, there’s not a whole lot of room to play around with it during the main story, but it’s a fun option to have and explore.

Kalos as a region didn’t strike me as overly fantastic. Again, the strength here largely comes from the visual style, though there are plenty of fun twists on getting around. As nice and large as Kalos is, it does suffer from some pacing issues. Routes feel very, very short somehow, maybe due to the new perspective. Yet I remember it being four hours between my first and second badges. I felt like I’d traveled halfway across the world, and there was no plot going on to keep it interesting or tell me I was headed in the right direction. This was especially jarring when I found out the other gyms came and went super fast. Perhaps due to the nature of this generation’s EXP Share, my team leveled up incredibly fast. By the end of the game, my team had higher levels than some of my Pokemon from older games do after many hours of post-game content. Yet my opponents didn’t reach levels higher than they did in Red/Blue. Higher than most games yes, but still enough for me to wipe the floor with most enemies just with experience gained by searching routes for all the Pokemon in them and battling all the trainers I could find. Very little grinding involved. For the first time, I challenged gyms with no clear advantage…and I still came out victorious every time.

I didn’t have too many problems with the game, per se, just that certain parts of it weren’t that great. In Black and White there was an interesting plot driving you forward all the time and a world full of unfamiliar creatures. It felt like a real adventure. X and Y always felt like a safe world (even though in some ways it was the least safe world yet). Sure, it was a beautiful world, but not consummately.

Okay, spoiler time.

Honestly, the story got really good for a few minutes. Of course, this happened after the 7th gym, where Lysandre, and unfortunately underdeveloped villain, revealed he was the Big Bad (shocker, by the way) and was planning to destroy Kalos. Okay, destroying Kalos does indeed one up Ghetsis’ plans (though Lysandre is nowhere near as evil), but it gets even heavier. As it turns out, Kalos was the center of a great Pokemon war, during which a King decided to Fullmetal Alchemist his dead Pokemon back to life…and then use said same technique in reverse to destroy everything. …Why couldn’t the whole game play off of this? One of the best parts of the game was actually activating the Ultimate Weapon yourself. Like, Oh shit! The story has it’s moments indeed, but they’re largely all in this one place. Oh and in the parade at the end of the game after you think it’s all over.

Which brings me to the aftergame. I’m kind of lost here. There’s really not a whole lot open to you. You find a few places that aren’t open to you until you become champion…but they’re incredibly disappointing, only containing a legendary Pokemon and nothing else. There’s nowhere to go to have casual training battles for EXP and money. You’ve explored pretty much all of the map by the end of the game, so there’s nothing new there. Unless we’re missing something huge here, I don’t see too much that will keep me coming back to this game for hours and hours. It’s quite disappointing that there’s not more happening in Kalos now.

In all, Pokemon X was a good experience. I loved marveling at the world Game Freak built this time around, but I couldn’t shake that feeling that these visuals weren’t accompanied by equally compelling gameplay. The story was largely weaker this time, and the pacing was quite wobbly, especially when it came to leveling. The world felt a bit smaller than usual (again, perhaps thanks to perspective) and yet more leveling up happened in it. It felt incongruous. Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed my time with the game, and I do appreciate features like Pokemon Amie (tedious though it seems) and Super Training (which still has a bit much science to it to be fully enjoyable and beneficial at the same time). The soundtrack here is also pretty good, though some of the more intense battle themes rely on too much ambience (though the Xerneas/Yveltal theme is very badass). If nothing else, Pokémon X gets me excited for what we will see in the future on the 3DS. This feels like just a taste of the raw potential of Pokémon on the system, and I'd love more.

Edit: I forgot to mention trainer customization. It's about damn time! I'm glad to see it in, but after playing Animal Crossing all summer I was very very underwhelmed by it. Yes, I can dress myself pretty much exactly like I do in real life (sans glasses), but I was kind of hoping for some really exciting costumes and combinations and whatnot. Also, why can't I take off my hat? The hatless model exists in the game for when you get your hair cut...so why cant I just take it off? This is another thing I'm looking forward to being expanded.

I never fucking thought I would like this stupid Starfucker song so much.

It's raining in Ocean City, but dry as a kite back here. I'm here, and my parents are in Ocean City. It's just me and the hookers. And by that I mean my cats.

...Okay scratch that it is raining here. Thank you for proving me wrong, Poseidon!

It doesn't matter. No rain could rain on my parade today unless I drowned in it. It's one of those days. A day where I'm simply to happen to listen to Pinkerton even though I want to. Not just happy, but interesting, and y'all know how much I love me some good ol' fashion intrigue.

Today was my university's annual anime convention as put on by the anime club. Now, you know something is going to be awesome when you spend the night before making ball jokes due to trying to make a cosplay out of your character in Pokémon X, which you can almost do because they have converses in the game. So this morning I gathered my things, told my parents and sister to have fun at the ocean, and took off for school. Just going to school and not hitting traffic is enough to make a day pretty fantastic.

You know what else makes a day pretty fantastic? Getting like 50 streetpasses. After weeks and weeks of getting doubles in Puzzle Swap, adding a plethora of new pink pieces felt so good. It's the little things I swear.

The non-little things? Being with people I like. I got to spend time with a friend I really don't get to hang out with as often as I'd like, sometimes due to illness and sometimes due to...I wanna say ignorance, but I don't feel like that's fair. At any rate it was good seeing her. She's one of those people I can really be myself around, and to speak my mind in any way I want to is kind of refreshing. It's nice to know that who I am in the digital world is indeed actually apart of who I am in the real world.

So then I met up with another friend whom I know from Japanese class. I was really smart this year and brought a folder with drawings of two of my biggest characters (Saith and MageBoy) and commissioned drawings of them. Seeing my characters depicted in higher quality and in a style different from my own is really cool. So if I have two pictures of two characters that are both based on myself and I can't stop looking at them, does that make me vain? Probably. This picture of MageBoy is pretty sexy. So that was an experience in and of itself, and something I'm probably going to do plenty more of in the future.

Then I actually went to the aforementioned friend's apartment and chilled with her. This was me sitting on some girl's couch eating Chinese. ...and the whole audience going "MAKE A MOVE, YOU CODPIECE!" Oh, except it'd be really hard not to, so I plan on it. I mean, she gave me a Mix CD. That's some special shit right there. Heck, for a guy like me, sitting on a bench with someone is kinda special. Speaking of that bench, a girl that kinda has a crush on me came up and talked to me today too. I haven't seen her since like May because she's a stupendously busy person. I always feel kind of bad when I see her because she's quite attracted to me and I know it probably couldn't work out with her because I'm quite clingy and need to be spoken too more than once every few months. I root for her though, from the bottom of my heart. She's one of those people with a good heart and soul. I've never caught her complaining about anything despite the amount of stuff she does. I can't help but root for her...which I suppose is only fair since she's probably rooting for me.

So that was today, eh? A day of stories that intertwine, real and fantasy, and in a good way. You don't get days like this too often...but hey, maybe there's more on the horizon.

This afternoon I looked in the mirror and saw a suave young man with stone jaw, dressed in a tweed suit jacket and a bowtie. Brunette. What I saw was this:

282194-high_res-doctor-who.jpg

...Okay, I've lied a bit. I haven't actually looked in a mirror today.

But I have seen myself as played by Matt Smith, looking up University Drive, driving my car, and explaining something very important to a friend I haven't seen in a while. The theme song played in my head, and throughout the day, when I tried to picture myself from someone else's view, I pictured Matt Smith, not me. And I'd say over 70% of my speech today came out of my mouth in some European accent. That's something someone else noticed actually.

And this isn't the first time it's happened, oh no. Sometimes I look like this:

Captain-Jack-Sparrow.jpg

Or this:

sherlock-holmes-robert-downey-jr.jpg

Or maybe this:

166395.jpg

(Is my sig/ava starting to make more sense now? Well, my current ava's a whole different can of fish.)

Truth is, I hardly ever see me as me. When I do look in a mirror, or look at a recently-taken photo, I'm always a little bit surprised. Mind you, I have to actually look for a few seconds because even when I look in a mirror I'm picturing someone else. It's just weird. I always see myself as what I'm watching or playing at the time. Even when I'm interested in something for which I've made my own character, I'll always see myself as that character walking around...even if said character was drawn shoddily or done solely in an anime style. It's like I'm always in-character, but all those characters are me in a way. It's a little hard to describe.

In some ways, it's frightening. I can't seriously go around thinking I'm The Doctor or a pirate or a Jedi or whatever. I do have to be me...yet who "me" is at any given time is always affected by what I've been taking in. Maybe one of the reasons I'm so quiet is because the character I am that day doesn't have a place in the society I'm in on that day. Certainly none of the above characters (except possibly Mr. H) could sit in class silently for two or three hours, and even if they could I'm sure some shenanigans might go down in between. Then, at the end of the day, being them has been pointless. So why the heck do I do the in-character thing to begin with?

It's probably some sort of coping mechanism. If something bad happens, I think more about how the character I'm into at the time would react more than how I'd react. I think about what kind of conflict this would translate into in their world. Being caught in traffic would mean parting them comically as Saith, travelling in the TARDIS as the Doctor, and flying a speeder as Obi-Wan Kenobi. A test is a boss battle to me, and I always imagine how beat down I might be after one goes poorly. If someone's shunned me or ignored me in a day, well then that might make Saith dislike humanity even more and cause him to do something villainous in Bladetown, or it might make MageBoy walk a little further on his own.

This is actually how MageBoy is written, in a way. Many of the social events that occur between characters in MageBoy IV are based off of real life events and interactions that I had with real people. One conversation was done almost point for point from a conversation I had online once. The first MageBoy back in 2004 had a great amount of its drama from things that were actually going on at the time. Part of the magic of those stories is that they come from real-life modern day experiences, but they're cloaked in this fantasy story. Even back then, it was a way of dealing with my problems. If some girl hated me, it became a point in a story. If I liked someone, they became a character. MageBoy IV could easily be likened to a story about a boy battling his way through high school.

I'm starting to believe more firmly than ever that my lack of socialization and drama is what's stagnated my writing so horribly. Everyone knows lyricists and poets write better when they're sad or when bad things happened. There was certainly a lot to write about back in high school, and I did a lot more writing by comparison back then. Back then there were dragons to slay and maidens to swoon over. Since I've started college, there's not much of that. I go in, listen, and leave. Very few characters in my life are consistent anymore and I never seem to be able to spend enough time with them for their characters to develop at all. I've noticed I don't feel like I did before. I used to fall in love all the time and be a hopeless romantic...but now it's also logical and defensive after years of going unrequited or being rejected. It's rather boring. And the frustrating thing? I'm waiting on other people. I'm already to explore the depths of these fascinating creatures I've met, but they can never seem to find the time themselves.

If only they knew what "hanging out" actually meant to me...that every day is a potential adventure waiting to happen...that car rides are travels through hyperspace towards planets unknown and intense conversations become heated debates with a life-or-death battle on the horizon. If only they knew when to play along, I could take them right out of their world when they need it and bring them into mine. If only they knew I was the Doctor, they could just as easily be my companion...or in a twist of fate, some other Doctor. And then...maybe after all of that, they can look at me and tell me who or what they see. And their answers will tell me who I truly am...

...and there's the hopeless romantic in me talking. ;)

RevDrZombie

By GreenRanger,

So Im sat here listening to Fear, because for some reason this kind of punk rock is appealing to the least punk rock person on the planet. That's be me. There I was, a young man of 21, dressed in a shitty old white undershirt and pajama shorts with treefrogs on them. I'd spent most of my day playing Pokémon games and reading Scott Pilgrim. I did spend a fair amount of time planning what I was going to do with the rest of my ample hours of weekend...the count of which is now down to about two.

I spent a lot of time this weekend being kind of depressed and frustrated. Not because this was the first weekend that would last only two days, as my first full week of school starts tomorrow, but because I'd been left hanging by a friend yet again on something in which I was really interested. I'm trying to think of a way to nicely tell her to stop doing that because it really manages to bring me down somehow. Then again, every time I think about this, I realize that it's been something like two years and the friendship hasn't gone anywhere. No friendship seems to these days. It's not like in Persona, where every time you hang out with someone, some new event happens that deepens your relationship with them. And I'm sure not able to make more powerful Personas either.

But fuck it, I'm not here to wangst. I never am. If you really want to hear me wangst, you can PM me and I'll be happy to emo your face off with my petty issues. There's just a missing link somewhere in my life...something that's not letting me unleash the awesome that I know is inside me. I know it's there, man! It shows itself every so often, and impresses me and only me. But this is going to go back into wangst territory if I elaborate.

The issue is, that's what's on my mind right now, so if I don't talk about it, I really don't have much to say. I'm not thinking about anything really deep or profound except starting a stupid punk rock band called "Charlot Harlot." We would play songs like "Let the Men Wear Dresses," "I Just Wanna Make Money," "Gonna Shit My Pants," and "Edgy Ass Song," that are all really stupid sounding but are actually about profound or homely experiences. Also I would probably always go on stage in a cosplay of the girl in my avatar. I'm kind of upset no one wants to start a punk rock band with me because it'd be awesome. You can't say it wouldn't because it would...though chances are you wouldn't say anything either way.

So I've been gone from the blog scene for like two weeks...what's been up? I went back to school for one, and felt like shit the first week again, though I seem to be somewhat better now. I don't know what's up with that shit, so I'm not thinking about it either. School seems alright, other than it has me waking up early five days a week. My classes seem straightforward enough, and that's fine by me. Oh, except everyone in Japanese class is like way better than me now, so I need to get better. And yet here I am typing random shit in English, eh? And sadly this is like the best thing I've done all day.

As it's clear I have nothing profound to say, let's move on, shall we? We're like WAY behind on The Last Story, but the good news is that I had about six episodes of side story and a week off while I've been gone, so we're going to be going through my three most recent videos.

In Episode 29, we begin an infiltration of a Gurak base. Into the lion's den! And onward to blatantly blowing off stealth and subtlety! Punk rock!

http://youtu.be/-BDn3y7eE5Y

And in Episode 30, our assault continues, and naturally, things go south. Way south...until Zael and Calista decide to show off some very plot-convenient powers of course...and yet I only notice the mundane utility of it all.

http://youtu.be/InHpxASFGyg

And finally, in the fresh Episode 31, we form an epic team with General Awesome and Sir Serious, and crash our way through the Gurak forces like the Fellowship on snake Saturday. Also, like comment and subscribe for the Green Day title?

http://youtu.be/yNYRVlbffOw

Also...this entry pretty much exemplifies why blogs need to allow creativity, eh?

And just like that, I have some incredible to talk about.

It's 2AM, the once delightfully active internet has gone quiet, and, as this was the last time I was going to be staying up obscenely late due to the impending start of school, I was quite disappointed by it. Then in comes Lucahjin with another one of her spontaneous 2AM (or rather, 10PM) streams. Not really what I was looking for, but hey, it's background noise. The game she's streaming? Digital: A Love Story

Digital: A Love Story is a fascinating piece of literature. In it you've just received an Amie...that is, a computer. You're given a BBS number and bam, you're off to the wonderful world of the internet...circa 1988. The world you enter is really, really intriguing, and I think everyone on GDC would be absolutely enthralled by this interface. The game takes place on essentially ancient message boards, accessed by dial-up internet (sounds and all). As Lucahin, who's older than most of us, points out, the game is a very accurate representation of what the fledgling internet was like. It's an interactive modern history lesson, but it's fun.

Let me just say that I highly, HIGHLY recommend playing this game. It's absolutely free and you can run through it in about two hours. There's no "gameplay" to be afraid of or "Game Overs" to be had. If you're on GDC, the gameplay will hardly be lost on you, and the majority of the story is done in a very linear, obvious fashion. If you are a computer/tech/programming buff, you will love the living shit out of this thing. As forum users, who use the internet to find comfort and make friends throughout the world, however, you owe it to yourself to go through this game. Yes, it starts to get into fictional, kind of science-fiction-y stuff, but the gameplay never strays from those blue and white computer interfaces.

And the story is fantastic. The writing is realistic and nicely done, making us realize that some of our internet culture is older than we think, and even when you get into the thick of the story things keep up at a high quality. It has a pretty remarkable ability to hook you into something that can easily come across as very corny. Though it's completely grounded in things we could use to replicate the plot, it piques the imagination. Some bits will have you wondering if elements of the game are real or not, and even those who stanchly believe in the fiction will be forced to imagine the what-ifs the story provides. And it hits very close to home for people like us, who have formed friendships and romances across the internet. It's humbling to know that this is not a new phenomenon.

As a game, Digital is pretty damn good. Yeah, it's a visual novel so there's not a whole lot going on, but it keeps you entertained and fascinated and that's what counts. The music is pretty damn wonderful, and you get the whole soundtrack as part of the game's files so you can listen time and time again. And man, they're pretty evocative 8-bit tunes, including one that will haunt your dreams and another that will hit you with a wave of emotion. Plus it's nice that the game doesn't overstay its welcome, though an in-game clock would have been kind of cool to tell you how many days had gone by, since the plot of this game in real life would take at least several months rather than two hours. But hey, it makes those two hours well worth your time, believe me.

That's all I can say about the game without spoiling it. So now I'd like you to take some time out and play the game, and then I can discuss the plot. Go on...do it! Again, there's no reason not to really. Oh and don't spoil this for yourself.

So the game largely centers around a girl called Emilia, who you meet while judging her poetry on your hometown BBS. Just as she confesses her love for you (which happens a bit quickly, in my opinion, but since you don't get to answer messages personally what can you really ask for?) the local BBS goes down and Emilia disappears. Honestly, the game does a decent job of making you panic about it even before you decide to try and log back into LCL for the fuck of it only to find it's gone completely loopy. Honestly, the glitched out LCL is downright terrifying, thanks in part to the music. You get a very huge sense of "WHAT IS HAPPENING?!" as your brain taps into those memories of GDC cutting out at the wrong time oh so subtly.

It's like having your hometown nuked though, but the limited technology of the game's setting allows for a really awesome sense of mystery, especially when some weird shit about AIs start showing up...and it turns out that Emilia was one of them. Oh and she's DEAD. I admit, this part of the plot could have done better. Up until now everything has been pretty much historically accurate, but the game doesn't make it clear that the whole AI bit is purely fictional. The idea that the replies to messages aren't arbitrary so as to preserve the immersion (that is, there are no moments of "but I wouldn't say that!") is great until this point, when your character just kind of accepts the whole AI thing as real and goes with it. There aren't any posts going "Dude, AIs? That's some whacked out shit right there." Everyone seems totally cool with it. And that's weird.

Weirder is that these AIs are advanced enough to have conversations like normal GDCers. It's a bit of paranoia fuel for you, especially considering that "viruses" can KILL these people. Ever wondered what happened to CaesarSalad? Or tone? Maybe the Reaper got them. Yeah. Shudder. Still, CleverBot struggles to hold a decent conversation, yet Emilia is just as casual as the real people on the other BBS. It's just a little bit out of place after the very real-feeling beginning. It's especially driven home when you reach the Underground Library, and suddenly you've got an AI calling you child and a story about "Mother." I swore that the AIs were aliens at that point since they seemed so organic. They were a little too lifelike to me. We needed another AI like Paris earlier in the game to guide us towards the idea that AIs were solely on the computer. And their lore could have been spread out a bit better.

This is still compelling and interesting enough to move the game forward. You get a very neat twist on rescuing a princess here in Emilia. Heck, it's twisted so much that I didn't even realize that this was a quest to save a girl. Maybe that's a failure on the game's part, but hey, I was still compelled to move forward some way or another. Granted, I wasn't always compelled to look around at every little bit of text and read for comprehension like I should have been, I still wanted to find the next thing, and getting to ARPANET, the place where it all started, still felt like finally reaching Oz. When I finally saw Paris' name on the list (and after troll messaging all the professors I could) I remembered what I was trying to do, so ultimately it came back to me.

And of course, that's when things really go to hell...especially if, like me, you have no idea that Emilia is sending you messages, which I managed to miss. The Reaper takes down ARPANET of all things, and Emilia is talking about people dying. You get to comprehend the Reaper plot a little bit more here, but again, the liveliness of the AIs make it hard to understand that the monster thing is just a metaphor. It's hard not to think that this game could have been some 3D action game and sometimes that's what it wants to be. So despite the Reaper not being a character in the vein of Delphi or Blue Sky, you kind of want to imagine it as a character and you never get to since you never get any messages from it or anything. It's still terrifying of course, because the Reaper will, no holds barred, wreck the shit out of your favorite BBS. So when it gets APRANET, it's pretty damn scary. And then of course it takes everything else (despite none of them having an AI, oddly). This just leaves you and Emilia...and she's begging for you to kill her.

Ugh, meanwhile some crazy music is playing. Admittedly, that music really hit the mark for me. I found Emilia a little cheesy, especially once I knew she was a robot, so that scene didn't resonate with me too much until I really soaked in the music. Her words and that music were ultimately enough to pierce my disbelief and make me run through every single number I had to make sure nothing else could be done. You realize that this is a love story. It works even if you don't love Emilia because you can tell she loves you in her own way. There's just enough there to imagine her as a real person. Her struggle is palpable, drawn ever more desperate should you choose to keep pleading with her. I did this without realizing, continually clicking on her new messages with increasing desperation until finally she pulled the plug.

Then there's that moment where she says she can't answer any more messages from you...forcing your hand. She leaves you alone, completely with no other choice. There's no one else you can talk to. None of the people you may have liked can reach you. Yes, the AIs are dead, but possibly worse is that these people that you met who have clear friendships can reach each other now. This internet world you've come to like is dying, and now the girl that was once your biggest reason for getting on the internet (because during that early section of the game, there was a point when all you could do was reply to Emilia's messages to progress, meaning that that's all you were really doing on the internet that day) is the only one left...and you have to kill her. She can't do it herself, and the longer she exists, the more she suffers. So you realize that it's been made so that the only thing you can do is the right thing.

And then she says good bye after you upload her to ARPANET, and because you read the message after you log on you think there's this slight chance that she'll be okay, but the credits roll and tell you that's not the case. It's heartbreaking, even when you jokingly put in your last name as "Bacon." It hurts because in a way, you don't even know why it had to end like this. Again, the game gets a little bogged down in computer jargon to allow for a complete understanding of everything going on, so it was hard to imagine what was actually going to happen to Emilia exactly...other than she'd end up dead again. And she does. It felt a little weird that again, your reaction is assumed in game and you really don't get a chance to learn what happens afterward, but it works that way. It forces the right feeling upon you. It does it so hard when you read Emilia's wish that you have a good life and make some other entity happy with the power of love. And I've realized...that's cheesy as shit, but that's Emilia. And that's why it hurts.

Overall, Digital: A Love Story is a fantastic experience for what it is. It's certainly not without flaw thanks to the jargon and the way the game is set up. Some points got lost on me regarding AI, and I felt a bit more character development in some cases would have been nice. The fact that you can't read sent messages is a compromise. Yes, it works as a device to keep you feeling like yourself rather than some pre-determined character to a degree, since in any case you're supposed to fall in love with Emilia. At the same time, however, it makes it feel like you're trusting someone else with your words. A branching tree of text options for important messages, a la Catherine, would have worked just as fine here. Ultimately, the game got me to go where it wanted me to, and hit all the emotional highs it intended. I wasn't expecting to feel for this game...but I did. Hard.

This is one of those games that certainly makes you think. It makes a fantasy out of something that has become very normal for a lot of people. People like us. It twists something that's questionably real into something even more questionably real. The setting is unexpected and amazing. You don't see originality like this every day. Just think about what would happen if we got caught up in something like this... It's just a huge world of thought out there. What are yours?

And then you capitalize all the letters in the title. Yeah, cool.

But seriously, my mind is so very fickle sometimes. I've had a few perfect ideas for meaningful blog entries today, and yet none of them came to fruition. It's like my mind hates good ideas. I don't know why, since I'm struggling to come up with them and do stuff with them. I've been really really stuck recently. I'm not sure when the last time I did something solidly creative. Like, Let's Plays are fine...but the last time I wrote a short story or even worked on MageBoy?

godknows.

It's seriously frustrating. I know I have that whole "who's going to see it, so why do it?" thing going on, but it couldn't be THAT bad, could it? I just don't know why I can't get into something useful. It's like when I can go in and write something, I just end up watching YouTube reruns. Why? Why even? I know the sweet smell of successfully finishing something. It feels good. It's nice to add something to the repertoire even if no one's going to see it. And you get to go to bed knowing you did something today. So why don't I actively seek that out? This is something I truly cannot comprehend.

I'm frustrated right now...but I also love hearing PeanutButterGamer's voice. ...So I'm gonna go. But seriously tell me to write cool things please. Because school starts soon and you goddamn know it's going to make my brain say even more stupid things.

Oh and hey I have more The Last Story! Yaaaay?

In this episode...COCK JOKES. That is all.

http://youtu.be/13E3U9IkavQ

And in this episode, we make it to the captain's...throne room? Why does a captain have a throne room? Probably so- Oh, that's a spoiler.

http://youtu.be/ZwvuiCj4QVc

The first few minutes of this episode are amazing. I did well, which is good because I managed to spend eighteen minutes kind of just running around our boat...but you'd do the same thing if you just got a boat.

http://youtu.be/2JV_lpP6-p8

But wait...there's more! We have a special SATURDAY episode of The Last Story! And I get my ass handed to me! But do I hand it back? you decide!

http://youtu.be/1TmIyWAx9FA

But first we need to catch up on The Last Story, right? Right? RIGHT?

In Episode 17, shit gets real when Ganondorf shows up. Yes, THAT Ganondorf. Don't believe me? ...Don't know who that is? Well watch and find out! And just look at SAD ZAEL. HE'S SO SAD.

http://youtu.be/GxSupTisGhM

Ever wondered what it would be like to get shot at by The Death Star? Wonder no more, it happens. Also we get abused by Ganondorf some more.

http://youtu.be/Ryy8XWyFwS0

Aaaand now we're up to a new recording session, wherein I must resist the urge to speak entirely of Pirates of the Caribbean quotes. Zael continues to hit on Calista, we rescue Elijah Wood and also DAT HOE.

http://youtu.be/WOf4biXZF7g

And now we can get to my vlog. I'll throw some hyperlinks under the video to some stuff I referenced, but there's probably more things that I'll forget about so remind me in the comments. And comment about some of my arcane nerdy shit.

http://youtu.be/9kjJl-VACGY

Relevant Links: Hiimdaisy Persona 4 Fandub

Don't Leave Me Swingin in the Wind

Originally I was going to forego writing a blog entry yet again tonight but...

[spoilers]

Obviously I didn't.

[/spoilers]

Something grinded my gears enough to merit a short entry. I was on Youtube, looking for what I thought was the main theme from The Last Story when I saw a related video that pulled a huge dick move. They had the name of the Final Boss right in the title of the video.

It was at that moment that it struck me how rude that was, since I had ironically been thinking about that very thing two minutes earlier when I noticed a video of Xenoblade's final boss on youtube, and another that merely said "Pandora's Tower Final Boss Theme." Neither of these decided to use the name in their titles, and I thought how respectful that was to people who hadn't played the games. But nope, for the game I happened to be playing, it wasn't the case. Of fucking course. If this were a Zelda game, it's no issue. A majority of the time Ganondorf is the final boss there, no surprise. But this is a JRPG, a much different game driven by the story. There's supposed to be twists and turns. If there aren't...well, then it's probably not a JRPG.

Spoilers are very frustrating to me, especially when I'm not looking for them. Granted, some games or movies have been good enough to still get the point across even when spoiled (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was STILL gut-wrenching even though I knew what was going to happen). I know that the best experiences happen when you have no idea what's coming. I try to avoid spoilers for anything I can for this reason. Thanks to TV Tropes, I usually do an awful job at this, especially when it comes to the YMMV page. I spoiled several things for myself last summer playing Xenoblade that I know would have been batshit crazy if I hadn't known they were coming at some point.

With The Last Story, however, I was doing so well until I happened across this related video. So I'm pretty upset now that not only the Final Boss has been spoiled for me, but the fact that I now know that the Final Boss was someone that was able to be spoiled. I'm not the type of person who forgets the details either, so it's not like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and have no idea. This means that the rest of the LP will have me subtly struggling to not color my commentary in light of what I know that I shouldn't know. Hopefully there are enough twists and turns to throw me off course.

Fuck you, random youtube guy who decided to throw a very spoilery spoiler into a video title!

Regardless, my LP will still go on and I will NOT make my titles all spoilery! Heck I usually name my videos long and weird things anyway. Richard Griffiths? Nothing to do with The Last Story and he most CERTAINLY isn't the goddamn final boss...which isn't something I should know...

http://youtu.be/vELqMlpWfgU

In Episode 15, we go ahead and start up guard duty in Lazulis Castle...but it's mostly politics. I have to throw in a nice lampshade about forbidden doors to make it interesting.

http://youtu.be/MGw0y5_fZdQ

And in Episode 16, hell breaks loose and the dresses come off. Literally. A girl rips her dress off in this episode to prepare for battle and you KNOW you want to see it!

http://youtu.be/Ob-4GbAQu8w

This week has been more active than the whole damn summer. What's up with that?

No seriously, a few days ago my neighbor (Wes, from the Dark-Eyed Southerners, dontcha know?) calls me up and tells me he wants me to play in this band with him. So at the behest of my father, I slog my shit over there and learn some stuff and play myself. Last night? At a tavern playing that shit on stage.

PS, I had no idea what I was doing. One of the songs I pretty much had to learn in the parking lot of the place. But hey, it was the first time I'd gotten out in a while, so it was cool even though I didn't know anyone there...No seriously, the crowd knew the songs I was supposed to play better than I did. And of course now I can't get them out of my head. Music, why you do this to me? So yeah, I might possibly be in a band now? I'm not sure. I don't even know that much.

And tonight it was my friend (Jake, from Eric N Jake play Lego Star Wars II) 's 21st Birthday, so I went and watched him drink. I couldn't tell if he was faking drunk or if he actually was because he was pretty much straight out of Hollywood. Still, that was just RevDrFunk in a bar...two nights in row. Without drinking because I don't do that. The rest of the summer? No such thing. Nada.

So like, what the hell, man? Why all the sudden did things hop up? And can they please kind of sort of stay this way? Even though I kind of have a headache right now, it's felt kind of good to be out some. I mean, that seems stupid...but I don't get to do it often enough. And I shouldn't even overanalyze it because I could in fact, be bitter about how people acted like they loved me tonight yet don't otherwise speak to me. Instead, we're just going to kind of take it as good.

I've been watching a lot of Superjeenius' Catherine stream lately, and a lot of that game takes place in a bar. Maybe that's why it didn't bother me. Something about the place I was at clearing out as it got later in the 11PM hour kind of reminded me of that game and subtly amused me. So maybe that's why I've been kind of cool hanging out at bars. It's kind of cool just to exercise my ability to be there. I could just walk in if I wanted, late at night, just to have an excuse to drive with music on. Speaking of which, I suck at driving at night...but if I enjoyed it more often, I'd get better.

...Do I sound like a total recluse who really does need to get out more often?

Point proven.

But anyway, more about that music and shit later as I get information about it. ...Because I still have no idea. I was actually hoping I'd come up with some philosophical spacey thing to say about all this, but nothing's coming to mind here. I must have spent all of that power the other night.

Here's a new Last Story! In this episode we Take a Level in Sherlock. I'm dumb enough to get my ass robbed, but then my idiocy rubs off on the thief as they decide to sit on top of my inn. After some shit with some bluebirds on my shoulder, I make a genius deduction and become self-aware.

http://youtu.be/MrJQD18Ga2U

Just a thought I had today.

Last night I had this dream about Doctor Who...no, scratch that. Last night I had a dream with Karen Gillan in it. No, we did not fornicate.

Anyway, I just found it odd because I've seen about two whole episodes of Doctor Who. Yet dreams have a peculiar way of inspiring you to think about something. And today I thought about Doctor Who. Time travel is kind of a cool thing to work with and the show is set up in such a way that it's easy to put yourself and the world around you into the world of the show. This always works when there are certain parameters, rules, and archetypes in the universe. Star Wars has Jedi, Harry Potter has houses, Fire Emblem has classes. The reason we can sink our teeth into stuff like this is because we can easily assimilate into these sorts of organizations. They classify us. And from there we can build a character.

But something has struck me. It's something I figured out years ago when I first started writing music. When it comes to creativity, to be ignorant is to be imaginative. When I started writing and playing music, or at least when I started to imagine it, I was free to put down any idea that came to mind. I kept coming up with things I swore I hadn't heard before. It was great and I sort of fancied myself a genius. Then as time went on, I got into Green Day and then the White Stripes and then weezer and then the Red Hot Chili Peppers and then System of a Down and eventually I'd heard all sorts of different things.

When I tried to write, I found myself fighting the urge to write songs I'd already heard. The melodies wouldn't leave my head and I had to give up on several songs because I found they sounded too much like something else. I'd never experienced that in the beginning. The same thing happened with things like MageBoy. I suppose part of it was just a more childish view of the whole situation. Maybe back then the idea that I made Saith's hair longer in TFC3 was just a coincidence with Anakin's hair being longer in Episode 3. No one would notice...except me from the future. Even MageBoy, I realized, was a hodgepodge of borrowed elements, and in some ways it still is. I can't escape that Giants and Pegasi are eldritch creatures that have been used into the ground, and that Astral magic is my word for The Force.

It's frustrating though, when you're trying to make the next big thing and you discover a story that has many of the same elements as your own. You'll just be watching something and then all of a sudden something from your own story will be used verbatim in some movie from the 80s. It almost makes me miss those days when I'd seen less. In those days, my imagination had no limits. There was no moment where I had to stop and say "I can't do that because it's been done before." Wherever I wanted to go, whatever I wanted to say...I just did. It was nice. Perhaps knowledge is both a boon and a burden.

But anyway, I've got two episodes of The Last Story for you tonight. I've got to pace myself posting the next two, however, since I won't be able to record for a little while. I didn't get to post Episode 11 because my post about the best Grumpstep songs was already massive. Speaking of which, GO have a second look at that and listen to some new music, dammit! That entry needs more love!

Anyway, here's Episode 11, where in we see a BEAUTIFUL night sky and make some moves on Princess Jasmine. It gets hot?

http://youtu.be/_QcORjrK_yk

And here's Episode 12. I wander around the city of Lazulis some more, and you know what that means...all sorts of shenanigans. But this time there's shiny objects involved!

http://youtu.be/7AcLfVPDmuQ

Continuing this kick of “music that needs more respek” kick, we have my Top 15 Grumpstep songs. Don’t you click off this page lest you wish to miss out on some seriously impressive creative chops!

For those not in the know, Grumpstep is a genre of music derived from the Let’s Play channel called Game Grumps which was composed of the boisterous showman JonTron and his voice acting, animating pal Egoraptor. Every episode opened with the bouncy little jingle of “Hey I’m Grump, I’m Not-So-Grump, and we’re the Game Grumps!” It only took one day for the internet to grab hold of these two and make something no one expected. After just the first few episodes, remixes of things the Grumps said had appeared on YouTube.

…and the crazy thing was, they were good. And then more people jumped on the boat. And those were good too. Previously unknown musicians, animators, and artists came out of the darkness and provided Grump fans with an incredible deluge of content. The best part is that there are some real talents out there making good music and beautiful cartoons. I personally have never seen such an impressive fandom.

For the past year, “Grumpstep” as it’s effectively called has been a consistent part of my listening. Remixers have created a veritable smorgasbord of tunes ranging from Broadway musical caliber songs to epic dance remixes. At the core of each song is a set of lines from an episode of Game Grumps. Even more impressively, some of these songs contain an amazingly low amount of autotune. JonTron has quite a voice on him, and when he busted out into song, you knew there’d be a remix out there a few days later.

So today I’d like to share with you some of my favorite Grumpstep songs. Don’t you dare knock it until you’ve tried it. I was skeptical too, at first, but in time I came to realize that this was very organic stuff coming very talented musicians. Tonight, I’d like you to indulge yourself in a fresh, modern, fun new genre of music.

15. Why

We start out with an emotional tune that originated from an episode of Banjo-Kazooie. “Why” was created by liltommyj, who broke onto the scene with the immensely popular “Goof Troop Boop.” He’s one of the quintessential composers whose work requires the term “Grumpstep” because it doesn’t fit anywhere else. “Why” is a fantastic addition to his repertoire, giving us one of the first remixes that made you feel something. It’s a weird feeling when a silly remix feels somehow somber.

14. Family Feud Baboom

The reaction to an SNES version of Family Feud interpreting “CD PLAYER” as “MODEL CAR” is destined to be memetic, but it’s only one ingredient in this upbeat tune by atpunk01. Incredibly danceable and fun, it’d be little wonder if something like this showed up in some club somewhere. Of course, you SHOULD already be familiar with this song…since…yknow.

13. Always Wanted to Fly

In June, JonTron announced when he was leaving Game Grumps and many, many tears were shed. Since he was the source for many remixes, people wondered if there would be a future for Grumpstep. Several goodbyes to Jon showed up, and this one, not deciding between total melancholy and optimism, is my personal favorite.

12. Fast Runner

Believe it or not, “Why” was actually a bit of a lull for remixer liltommyj. Other remixers like JerryTerry and atpunk had joined in the scene and eclipsed the “Goof Troop Boop” hitmaster. “Fast Runner” brought him back into the spotlight when the Grumps themselves shared it with their fans. It’s a prime example of how complex these songs could get and how seamlessly quotes could work together. It’s masterful, showing liltommyj has a vision when he remixes, and can bend his resources to his will. This is just the first of many remixes on this list that I could imagine a totally natural dance being done. It's like some 80s thing we can't comprehend.

11. Joe N Mac

JerryTerry creates some of the lengthiest remixes out there. This one clocks in as the longest, and yet, it’s largely original. JerryTerry shows that his songs are made on his own merits as much as the quotes he uses. He challenged himself to take an episode of the show and make a remix out of whatever was in it. That episode was the second episode of Joe and Mac, which just so happened to contain the Konami Code…here transformed into dance steps. Like many dance mixes, "Joe N Mac" takes its time getting where it's going, but it grooves the whole way along. If you're not a huge fan of the voices of the Grumps, you might still find enjoyment in JerryTerry's original bits in this piece.

10. Bros & Power Chords

Cracking our Top Ten is "Bros & Power Chords" by atpunk01, one of his first hits. Unlike liltommyj, atpunk01 uses a lot of original instruments that he hand records. So the guitar in this song? Totally real. While the verses are nowhere near as memorable as the zany, energetic chorus, this remix was one of the first to break out from the typical “remix” style. It explored making rock songs…which of course for me is pretty damn awesome. Plus, singing this song in the car with someone who has no idea what Grumpstep is is massive fun. Brace yourselves, this one is explosive right out of the gate.

http://youtu.be/EtpE9xZnj7E

9. Goof Troop Boop

"Goof Troop Boop" is one of the earliest remixes, and was impressive because of its minimalistic approach. Unlike most remixes, you can’t really sing along with this one. There’s too much going on in it to really pick a part to sing. Even so, it will get stuck in your head. Forever. It’s pretty self-evident why this is one of the most popular remixes out there. It's like that hit song that comes on after the super energetic first song on the album, like that moment where you get to go "aww yeah now we're cooking." And indeed, we're cooking. This is a groove that even the savviest of artists would have a hard time catching. Now, let this song play pinball in your earholes. We always reset together.

http://youtu.be/2L6POqtJ_Bk

8. Bernard the Biscuit

This one might be a persona favorite, but the story of two best friends coming together to create a pastry just touches me in places. Perhaps this is one where the visuals add to the experience. Still, "Bernard the Biscuit" builds and builds until it starts to feel genuinely emotional. It’s touching, and the way Arin says “I don’t know” feels…well, when you sing along you really have to kind of belt it. Now sit back and ride on this head-bopping wave of pure friendship. Why do I have all these feels?!

http://youtu.be/3UucpqKDGnY

7. Emotional Claws

The vocals in "Emotional Claws" are largely unedited. This whole song was done pretty much candidly during a one-off of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fighting game. And yet, it sounds like it literally did come right off of a Broadway soundtrack. This is some seriously impressive improv, and was another one of those remixes that broadened the boundaries of Grumpstep to include genres that no one would expect to come out of a show about two guys playing video games. "Emotional Claws" is well…emotional, and manages to fuse the Grumps’ brand of comedy that gave the most innocuous of graphics character and their ability to spontaneously turn a melody. This is magic, people.

http://youtu.be/Z4lV4zGL6s8

6. Jon Wins

Ironically one of the last remixes to appear before Jon’s departure, “Jon Wins” is another JerryTerry epic, complete with orchestral background arrangements. It’s another testament to JerryTerry’s ability to make songs his own. This one goes a long stretch without any vocals at all, and really makes the vocals he does use count. There’s just something awesome about this song. It feels big and large. It quickly became one of my favorites. It's one of those songs that pumps you up. The beginning is full of melancholy, and then the song makes you realize...just who the best winner is. It's metaphorical. Because when Jon wins...so do you. This one should be enjoyable for all ages.

http://youtu.be/xS7cCYsgNUA

5. Grass Go Fast

Atpunk01 is one prolific dude. He’s probably made the most remixes out there. So many that I haven’t even really listened to them all. I’m happy I found “Grass Go Fast” though. It hearkens back to the pop punk I started my musical life with, reeking of blink-182 influences. Since this is atpunk, you know a lot of this is probably completely legitimate. I have a dream of someday being in a punk band and causally playing this game. Because you could totally do that and no one would know it came from a silly show on the internet. Hell, people probably wouldn’t know it had anything to do with a lawnmower. Oh, and this makes the list even with me having no idea where the hell it even came from. Let me tell you a tell about a bird and an egg. I love you bro.

http://youtu.be/lJc9IZWJXc8

4. Grep

Grep is a running gag about a time when Arin called the show “Grep.” It’s just weird because both of them used to call the show horridly odd things such as “Gram Grapes.” Still, Grep was the one that became memetic because their editor Barry had to put a logo for the fake show into the video. Almost completely unrelated is this remix, which is guaranteed to brighten your day. Why? It’s silly. It doesn’t even really use singing, just funny noises. It’s hilarious in a way that many remixes aren’t. You just wanna laugh along with Arin and Jon. This song is like perfect. Sad? Listen to Grep. Happy? Listen to Grep. Angry? Listen to Grep. What other song fits every emotion ever at one time?!

http://youtu.be/QwIDiJ_zd_k

3. Going Down

I think this is probably liltommyj’s best remix. It’s like “Fast Runner” only more exciting and intense. The verses are interesting, the chorus is interesting, and the whole damn thing feels like something that someday prisoners will dance to. It’s like the Thriller of Game Grumps Remixes. There’s this exotic quality to it, like those who dance will feel right at home, but those uninitiated will look at said dancers like they’re caged Twil’leks. I can’t describe this song without completely gushing. It can be interpreted. Is there really a desperation about being shot down or does the singer just have a whole lot of swagger? If you ever want to see me dance, find this song and turn it on. I can’t resist grooving to it. And you can’t either. You KNOW you can’t. Oh...OHHH!

http://youtu.be/MpaDMTKSkdc

2. Banana Shoes

Holy fuck Banana Shoes. JerryTerry’s breakout hit and good shit is there a reason. A lot of Grump mixes are infused with 8-bit sounds because you know, they’re playing videogames. When this song starts up and those 8-bit noises become a choir of joyous violins it’s like JerryTerry’s taking us into the future. The FUTURE man. It was like he was taking us to CHRISTMAS because this song sounds like a Christmas song. Before this, there was remixing. After this, there was a whole new level of remixing. This wasn’t just some doofus throwing dubstep behind some silly quote that Jon happened to sing. This song had MOVEMENTS. It was alive. It was a real frigging song. JerryTerry showed us that Grumpstep could be musically deep, varied, and complex. This was the moment that all the lovelies realized that these things could be real songs…that when you put Jon and Arin in the same room together you could literally have them make beautiful music together. JerryTerry knows a lot of songwriting tricks, and they’re in top form here. It was a big moment to hear this for the first time and realize that this remixing thing was bringing some very musically capable people out of the woodwork and giving them some much deserved exposure. Plus Banana Shoes is just joyous, a feeling that’s hard to capture even in “regular” music.

http://youtu.be/K4m5mr41g4c

  1. Pause Balls

Great scott. Pause fucking Balls. Day One gave us the greatest remix in the whole thing. That’s it. The first day. Done. But really, who better than Pause Balls? One of the two “original” Game Grumps remixes by waterflame89, Pause Balls is indelibly catchy and relentlessly fun. It’s one of those songs that sounds like it was written in the 1800s because its melody is just so core and essential. And yet, it’s original. Even in the show, Pause Balls was a moment so pure that it begged for attention, and has since been remixed a million times. Piano remixes, dubstep remixes, emotional remixes…Pause Balls was the moment that Game Grumps went meta. This was the beginning of a beautiful fandom.

I still can’t believe that Pause Balls is something that came from a completely candid show. I couldn’t come up with something like this even if I tried for a month. The tune is completely timeless, the kind that you get stuck in your head for days but don’t feel annoyed by. Heck, when I made a CD full of Grumpstep I ended it with ten minutes of pure Pause Balls, and those ten minutes never get old. I have a desire to make Pause Balls apart of pop culture. It’s one of those things that deserves to be a phenomenon with amazing origins. For fans, it’s indicative of Game Grumps’ simple roots…before 96 parts of Sonic 06, before Barry, and before a bromance that raged across the stars. It was the indicator that we’d subscribed to something special here, something that reached across audiences. I still believe Pause Balls has an audience anywhere, in any of its many forms…from the fun of the original, to the emotion of the JerryTerry version which many of us used to say goodbye to Jon. Pause Balls is Awesome as Fuck, and should be a prime example of music in the 21st Century. I wish stuff like this were popular.

http://youtu.be/ufZiDlU2N6o

Honorable Mentions. I made a list of 17 Grumpstep songs to share with you tonight, and even with two honorable mentions I can’t share all of them that I’d like. So I’m going to go ahead and talk about two more songs and then list off a bunch of other songs you should check out.

Sophia Lo-ren

In a moment of desperation, Jontron called out for the power of Sophia Loren. Or should I say Sophia Loreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen. This is one of Jon’s inadvertently strongest vocal performances. Yes, his initial cry is pretty much uncut from the source. Mouthing off that huge note is pure catharsis. I have no idea who the fuck Sophia Loren is, but dear God I’m reaching out to her all the time.

Black Belly Budapest Battle

Violetfire isn’t a very well known remixer, but I always like to give them a nod for this one. I wasn’t even aware that the source for this remix had rhythm, and yet here it is being all fun and stuff. How you do that, Black bellied Budapest? This is like the new Benny Hill Theme Song or something.

Oh hey so you want more Grumpstep? You know you do. You’d better. If so, check out Color of the Game (JerryTerry), Back in Mississippi (liltommyj), Mystical Rave Party (atpunk), Beautiful Sonnet (JerryTerry), Poppy Bros (waterflame), Ice Hair (FieryNugget), Don’t Bite Me (atpunk), Do Not Disobey (atpunk), Game Grumps Sonata (Pl511), Listen Up, Megazord (TheRealRunner).

So I want to hear from you. This isn’t just about some internet show. It’s about music, and I think I’ve laid down some good tunes for you here tonight. Let me know which one your favorite is and what you found most interesting. Can we get a little love up in here?

Eck. Today.

We're not going to go into it, but yeah, today was frustrating. I'm still frustrated. If you're savvy to my word association, you might be able to pick up on what I'm talking about, but otherwise don't worry about it. Just argh. Also, I don't have a new episode of The Last Story today. Tomorrow I will...hopefully. I'm not putting anything in stone at the moment.

Anyway, this evening my parents and I went to some free "concerts in the park" thing that goes on in my town where old people hire old people to entertain old people. Okay, so maybe that's hyperbole since tonight's band actually attempted to play a song by Alice in Chains (it didn't end well). Still, needless to say, I wasn't as interested as I could have been. There needs to be more bands that play music from the last twenty years around here. Or maybe just more organizations that accept them, but that's a different rant.

I spend a lot of time looking at random shit at things like this, since there are no light shows or excessive stage presence. So I look at trees and clouds and people. Especially people. My saying that these shows are attended by old people might not be hyperbole. It's a lot of older people. Of course, there's always a few people like me interspersed with the rest of the crowd. Sometimes they're across the way. Sometimes they sit down right in front of you. And then you can look at them. And you find them pleasant to look at. People stimulate the imagination and since you'd rather better your situation, you think about them positively. Hey, you're gonna be here a while, maybe at some point they'll look back. And one of you will smile...or both. And then one of you might wave. Then one of you will work up the balls to say hi. And then you'll talk some, maybe exchange facebooks. Then over time you'll get to know each other, go on a few dates. Fall in love. And then you'll get married and watch as they transform into something that reflected their parents on the night you met. Except you'll still find them beautiful because you can remember the context of that night you met and that face that caught your attention.

This is the story my mind likes to invent at these sort of things, only in real life, only the first two or three things really happen. It happened today. There was a young girl with her parents and grandparent (maybe that's who they were, I dunno). Maybe young girl isn't proper terminology but hey, closer to my age than most people. And I just kind of looked at her. Hat-and-book girl will be joining a long list of those potential soulmates I knew for one night only. Those girls I happen to keep my eye on...just in case the mojo in the air warps around us and something happens.

Or I'm just bored.

Don't even get me started on going to the beach, which is something that's coming up. For the past few years, going to Ocean City has been kind of a drag. I'm at that age now where I guess I'd much prefer to be going down with someone of my own. Yknow, a girlfriend. My sister was doing it at 21, and every time I'm down there I mostly just think about how neat it'd be to experience this familiar place with someone else's fresh experience on it. Bah, but I suppose this is something for the Singles Thread, eh?

Anyway, since I don't have any of The Last Story...I'm going to feature two bits of music tonight. Kind of as a "Song of the Day" which I do on facebook and sometimes twitter.

So have some more Tom Brier!

http://youtu.be/pI_L9GkMs7w

And here, in a similar vein to video game music being valid, we have Grumpstep, which is practically its own genre at this point. Songs, actually legitimate songs, are created by taking lines from the Lets Play show "Game Grumps" and setting them to music. Hmm...consider this a preview of an article I will probably write about the best of Grumpstep. Don't be turned off by the "remix" part of the label...these songs run the gamut from pop songs, to dubstep, to rock, to freaking SHOWTUNES. Tonight I'm hooked on a song called "Grass Go Fast," which is a very punky tune created by atpunk01.

http://youtu.be/lJc9IZWJXc8

Today I had a fan-tucking-fastic idea. It was brilliant. One of those "moment of clarity" type things.

That music from Yoshi's Island...in RAGTIME.

...Aaaaand I lost most of you. For those I didn't lose, probably only a few of you can imagine the pure brilliance of this combination. That's because in the music world, music from videogames are like a residential district. You don't really go there because you usually don't have a reason to. Yet, houses are cool things, right? Inside them you might find some really awesome ideas, and they're cool to hang out in. You might stay a little longer than you would at a bar. The thing is, you don't just randomly walk into a bar.

It's true, videogame music is a niche genre that does benefit from the context of the music fitting into the game...but that's really only making a good thing better. The fact of the matter is that today, video games have soundtracks that rival those of movies, even in the department of real genres. You can find full fledged rock songs in these games and indie hip hop more original than mashups that sell millions of copies. Heck, sometimes you even find the two side by side in a game, which is pretty beautiful in and of itself.

But I'm not here to preach it to you. I could have a whole series of entries talking about how awesome this music is and exploring everything from the hillbilly to the urban in videogames, hyperlinks galore. Today I just want to show you something I consider pretty remarkable. See, there's a fairly obvious generation gap when it comes to video game music. Older people aren't going to hear it because it's from games that they aren't interested in...which is really a shame. I mean, some get it because more and more orchestras around the world have shows that feature video game music...but the rest are missing out.

Back to my brilliant idea. Naturally, someone else beat me to the punch. You can find several covers of the song I was looking for, and heck when you play it on the piano, it automatically sounds very ragtime-y. Then I came across a video where a bit of sheet music was given to an old man with a piano. The piece of music was an adaptation of "Nyan Cat." Having no idea what the music sounded like, the man took the music and looked it over, slowly working it out until sure enough, that catchy-ass tune was coming out of that piano. More than that though, this guy was able to, within minutes, take it and make it his own thing. He was having a blast playing this song, even though it was just some stupid thing on the internet.

The video of the song I wanted got even more interesting. After hearing him play the song, a friend of his decides to join in on the jam and play flute because it sounds so cool! It amazes me, and it warms my heart to see that, when you remove the labels (or in this case, when you ignore them), you only risk finding something you can truly enjoy. I wish more people would open their hearts to the music I've come to love and can see the potential in.

http://youtu.be/ffwVKDP8nzQ

So go check out some of his other videos (well, the guy who's taping is the one who posts them, but his hand in this is that he writes the scores), since they include some really fun songs, like Nyan Cat, and the Winter theme from Mario 64. It's pretty great.

What else is pretty great? Not me in this battle, because I get my ass kicked. And then I kick ass. How bipolar. Watch me get a little frustrated in this new episode of The Last Story!

http://youtu.be/2Ty_390i2XA

Yknow...there's a reason why life simulators are some of the most feared games of all time by gamers.

BNY0snoCcAACrOy.jpg:largeFEAR IT.

It's because they're massive time sinks. Seriously. There's no end to them. You don't BEAT Animal Crossing or The Sims, you just keep going at it. There's no stopping point. Every day you can turn the game on and do something and get a little bit farther...but leading up to what? Hitokui? Well, maybe. Most people are just kind of after what they think is the coolest.

I'm going to go ahead and say that I'm mainly talking about Animal Crossing here. Though it's grouped in the same sort of genre as The Sims it's really not the same thing. The Sims is the more realistic version. I'll admit, there's something cool about that. But at the same time, I don't get it. I mean, The Sims is kind of like real life...too much really. If anything it's there to make you paranoid that someone out there is clicking you in the right direction every time you want to eat or go to the bathroom. Though I guess people can't REALLY have alien babies. OR DO THEY?

But anyway, Animal Crossing doesn't make you eat or poop or even really go to work. You don't make friends with some animals more than others [officially] and you can't marry anyone or anything like that. So what's the point? Well, like I said, to make the coolest town ever! And how do you do this? Easy, by living a much much simpler life than we do in the real world.

Heck, even in New Leaf, being the mayor is less stressful than any job you'll ever have. All you have to do decide where to put cool things like fountains! Other than that you're pretty much just earning money for yourself by...fishing and catching bugs. Yeah, that's it. Now you ARE trying to make your town a better place and you can choose to neglect that calling altogether, but other than that Isabelle does everything for you! "Everything" here being a vague term. All she ever does for me is RUIN my vision for the perfect town.

HNI_0039.jpgSo a guy can move in right here....

HNI_0040.jpgBut we can't put a bridge over the river here because it's too close to my house. Thanks, Isabelle.

But that's really all you do. Go in. Catch fish. Sell fish. Fuck bitches. That's really it.

It's the perfect life. When I walk outside now, I think of Animal Crossing. I think "damn I wish I could just go on down to the river and fish right now." I think, "Oh look, a butterfly, maybe I'll just whip out my net." I wouldn't need a job. I could just walk on down to the old ocean and fish myself out a shark and BAM! House payment. It's awesome! If life were like Animal Crossing, there'd actually be a good reason to go outside.

My first few activities when I start up the game for the day aren't even profitable! I literally get up and water every single flower in my town. Sure, I mostly do it because I'm paranoid of my town loosing its green and becoming a desert, but I actually enjoy it. Maybe it's because the game rewards you with some subtle graphical indicators showing that the flowers have been watered, but hey, I still do it every day. I'd never just get up and water flowers in real life. Probably because they'd burn up in the sun if I did it when I first got up.

I can imagine a life where I did live in a small town like in Animal Crossing...getting up in the morning, eating some kind of breakfast, then heading out and watering all the flowers, talking to some of the villagers, who might make town suggestions to me. I'll go and personally check out all the shops and see what they're selling today. Then I'd have to decide what odd jobs I want to do. Or maybe I'd fish and earn my keep for today. If I felt really ambitious, I could just go to an island and catch a few rare beetles and earn something like 200,000 bells in an hour. That's enough to pay off half of a home-improvement loan or some town project somewhere.

But I guess that's the point of it all, isn't it?

Anyway...that's kind of my rant for the day, so here's a new episode of The Last Story...showing how patient I can be in the name of caution. And yes...I would have kept standing there shooting.

http://youtu.be/ZfT2cIkYuQk

Yeah, I don't have much to say tonight so it's kind of one of those "here's a video, so I'm asking you to do less this time!" kind of nights. I am doing a lot right now...seems like a popular day to have posted LP videos. It's crazy. So let me remind you to go check out Persona 4 because it's an awesome game.

I'm also talking to a friend (who I actually hung out with yesterday (social activity? GASP)) and playing Animal Crossing. I'm hunting a Scorpion and am going to be checking out some spooky creepy towns. So yeah, I'm still kinda booked for the next hour or two. Hopefully not the next hours after that. I've developed a bad habit of staying up past 3AM recently, and I'm not a fan of that. So I'm hoping to start cutting that back by about two hours every night.

So I recorded some new episodes of The Last Story this morning. While the gameplay is more exciting, my commentary was not. I was in kind of a sad mood because my stomach was bothering me, and it kinda shows. But yeah, the whole Blind thing becomes significant pretty soon. And the plot is thickening by the minute! Which is impressive considering how side-quest-y this segment seemed.

http://youtu.be/UIO5eDVX6G8

By the way, how's The Last Story coming so far? I'd love to hear from those of you wonderful people who are watching/listening! Because people who do that are AWESOME!

Life's a game.

And if life's a game you can win. You can play again with benefits. Sometimes you can keep right on playing after you've won because there are some things you haven't done yet. Some games are awesome. When you beat them, you unlock things. Special features that make the game more fun or that allow you to get more enjoyment out of the game in general. A lot things make up a game you know. Cool art, cool ideas, cool music. Hell, I'm starting to think that music is the main reason I play Persona 4.

Anyway, I'm starting to think that, if Life is a game, I beat it a while ago. Why? I have access to a shit ton of bonus features I don't think would otherwise be available to me. I can summon up assets of my life at will now. I can enjoy them whenever I want without having to live them the way I did the first time. Instead of meeting certain requirements, all I have to do is go find it and bring it up. I can watch some of my favorite scenes from my life, and can listen to any music I remember to think of.

In short, I unlocked YouTube, making everything available to me.

This thought crossed my mind when I brought up the opening to the old Cartoon Cartoon Fridays block from Cartoon Network. I remembered the theme quite well. Yet...something seemed odd about this. It used to be that you could only hear that music and see those visuals on Friday Nights at 7PM (or 8, Im not sure). You had to be in the right place at the right time, or you missed out on it until the next week and that was it. Then when the block ended in 2003, you couldn't here it anymore. It was gone. You'd moved on whether you wanted to or not. Kind like how in Xenoblade Chronicles you hear the song "Unfinished Battle" exactly once before it's gone forever. The same principle applies to any TV Show. You can just bring it up on Youtube and pick and choose what you get to watch. You don't have to wait six months to see your favorite episode of Dragonball Z again, and even better there's no commercials. There's no work in it.

Heck, even real life is becoming this way. With more memory, we can take more pictures and more videos and then we can go back and view them over and over again. Momentus occasions become free actions. Once you do it, it's available to watch at any time. You work 18 years for a high school diploma and then the moment comes and it happens and then it can happen 50 more times on video. Admittedly, this isn't as jarring as the Youtube example, where almost at once, all of this stuff that I spent hours on in my childhood years is now available in the archive, whereas even back when it was available, it was only generally available in limited ways.

Game Developer Masahiro Sakurai has this same idea. The next Smash Bros game won't have an epic story mode like Brawl did because the cutscenes, which he considers a reward for playing through segments of the game due to their unique cross-over contents and beautiful graphics, were put on youtube for all to see without even playing the game. And I kind of see where he's coming from. Without YouTube, we'd actually have to play the game to experience those cool scenes again. We'd be encouraged to play the game through again. To repeat the entire experience that made that moment so cool in the first place. You wouldn't watch the last scene in the movie first, would you? No, because you need the rest of the movie to make that ending worth something the first time. It feels better when you work your way to the end. Because it's natural.

So while I love YouTube and all the cool things it lets me find, part of me feels like there's some magical part of life that's getting sapped with its existence. It's like how way back when videogames were hard. You made it to the fourth level, got owned by some asshole enemy placement and that was kinda where the game ended for you. You stopped playing. You go to a dungeon in Zelda, and you have no idea to burn the curtains with Fire Arrows. You have no idea what the fuck Kingdra is weak to. Nowadays, you just hop on GameFAQs or jump on YouTube and look that shit up. If you can't find a certain item or quest or weapon or whatever, you don't spend days scouring every nook and cranny of the meticulously-crafted gameworld. You look that shit up because someone's found it already. It kind of sucks. Half the reason people are so nostalgic for shit from the 90s and 00s is because back then they didn't have the internet ruining all that stuff for them. It's because the only opinion they had to go on was their own. They got through things by their own wit, timing and planning.

It's a hard tradeoff to make, but the thing to remember is that it comes down to us. We have to pick and choose our adventures, I think. Sometimes you have to show restraint and go for the adventure. Don't just listen to something on YouTube, find out what it's from and seek it out. Go on adventure to the record store and flip through the CD cases. Don't watch shit in marathon chunks. Watch it in an order that makes sense, because even original videos didn't come out within 5 minutes of each other. This is all advice to me too, by the way. I think I could benefit from not trying to marathon things or seeking something about just because I can and then watching ever little related video because I can. I could never quit YouTube because it's done amazing things for me. I've discovered a lot of music and enjoyment that I never would have otherwise found and been inspired by.

Speaking of which, the new episode of The Last Story is CERTAINLY inspired. No seriously, watch this one. I think I might really be growing into this game now. It's no coincidence that we happen to escalate the amount of shenanigans in Lazulis to Jack Sparrow levels in this episode. It gets intense. So please watch.

http://youtu.be/EJZTqQpdWeo

Didja Know?

I fuckin' love Star Wars.

Seriously. Like all of you people out there on the GDC, you all like Green Day. Some of you have seen all 30000 pictures in the vault. Some of you have been to shows like everywhere. And that's cool. But I like Star Wars more than I like Green Day. In fact, if we're going by Insane Troll Logic, without Star Wars I wouldn't have even loved Green Day. And this is my really stupid story about it.

A long time ago in a Galaxy far far away...

I was born. And it was 1992. Now see, that's important. 1992 came after 1977, and since that's when Star Wars came out, that makes me fan. It's that easy. That's why I love Star Wars. That's it. That's all you need to know. Everything is 'splained.

I think I said this yesterday, but I couldn't tell you what my first experience with Star Wars was. All I remember is being 3 and wanting to be George Lucas when I grew up and drawing TIE Fighters all over everything. All you do is draw an "H" and put a circle in the middle of it. Boom. Instant TIE Fighter. So unlike most Star Wars fans, I don't have that moment where I was like "I am in lesbians with this" (actually most people probably don't have that moment since Scott Pilgrim came out way later). For me, Star Wars just IS. It's just there and it always has been, and it's awesome.

I can't even begin to describe every little thing in my life that Star Wars had an influence on. It's crazy. It's crazy like the breadth of the series. I mean, I've met several people in my life who have never seen Star Wars (and maybe THIS is why I can't find anyone to date, because a lot of the people I end up liking have never seen Star Wars) and I'm pretty sure they could pick Darth Vader out of a line-up, spout off a quote or two, and find the wise words of Yoda at least vaguely familiar. I don't know of any other series that's so pervasive in our culture that it touches people whether they've seen it or not. Yeah, I can quote Persona and TWEWY and even more popular stuff like The Dark Knight and Lord of the Rings, but your average random person's gonna look at me like I'm weird. I am.

Actually I had a really funny moment in school once. We were learning how to do a dialogue scene in my Film Class (I was a Film major in high school, did you know that?) and to do so, we had to recreate the conversation between Han and Obi-Wan in the cantina. Naturally, I went into total fanboy mode because that was awesome as balls. So we were in a three person group, and one of them knew Star Wars decently enough. He probably couldn't have told me the difference between a Nikto and a Quarren, but hey. The other girl? No idea. Didn't recognize the seen at all. At one point between takes, I told her "You will learn, young Padawan." Her reply? "What did you just call me?"

And naturally I laughed. Actually we had this moment recorded...but yeah, back then my flash drive could only do 4GB and videos are huge.

Where the eff was I? Do I have to explain this to you? Yeah probably. I own like six lightsabers and all of them are battle damaged. I have- Wait a second I can't do this. Why? Because someone out there is going to one-up me. Someone out there always does (I have a complex about this, I swear). Someone out there has spent $10000 on whatnot and experienced all of the Expanded Universe stuff and invented Wikipedia. Okay, you're a bigger fan than me! Except you're not. Don't you hate that feeling? Like how do you measure a love for something? That's deep.

But now it's realtalk time. I had an idea today to start a vlog show about Star Wars. I could call it like "Seeing Stars" or something and talk about little things I like about the Star Wars universe. From the sound effects of the Slave I, to the English version of Lapti Nek, I just want to do short little segments about bits I like. And pretty much only things I like or could at least reasonably logic out. Why? Because Star Wars has one of the most broken fanbases in the history of fanbases and that makes me feel bad like when a Green Day fan is all "everything after Insomniac sucks." I think that explains it. But yeah, I kind of want to. Does anyone think this is a good idea? I'm curious.

Anyway, now for something I'm still a fan of but don't love quite as much: a new episode of The Last Story. Actually I do like this episode. In this episode we meet up with a passionate musician and well...Princess Jasmine. And get up to some more shenanigans in town, of course!

http://youtu.be/FSfl51xDfS4

And if you clicked this because you realized I never explained what Star Wars has to do with Green Day, good job! I owe you a cookie or something. Prepare for an unsatisfying, idiotic answer.

So. In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker has a new lightsaber, and it's green. That blew my god damn mind as a kid. Now again, my early experiences with Star Wars predate memory and screw up my time loop. It's unclear whether my favorite color is green because of Luke's lightsaber in Return of the Jedi or Return of the Jedi is my favorite of the Original Trilogy because Luke's lightsaber is green...but needless to say, Return of the Jedi boosted my liking for the color green.

And...

yknow...

GREEN Day...

Speaking of Persona 4...

I have this persona about me sometimes. I have to admit that I love Special Features. They seem to me like a creator's payoff. There's this thing that they've made very meticulously, crafted and forged down to the very last word or detail, and people judge it for what it is. I think there's an element missing there. As someone who's attempted to write a novel from start to finish, I know what it feels like to get stuck on a single word. I've sat there for long periods trying to figure out the next logical movement for a person to make- something that takes two seconds to read and would last even less than that on the silver screen. I've spent dozens of hours in Microsoft Word, but hundreds and hundreds of hours in my head, figuring out how one even connects to another, and why one thing is turning out the way it is.

I took a Fiction writing class my first semester in college, and the format was that of a roundtable. Your story came up and for thirty minutes, your classmates discussed it and you couldn't say anything. And it was a fucking amazing way to learn about your work. My story The Living Dead was reviewed in this fashion and man, I remember everyone trying to figure out what was going on with Ruby. I had people suggesting that she might be Maxwell's secret lover, and no one could figure out why he refuses her. And the whole time I just wanted to say "She's Newell's ex and she wanted to get rid of him and be with mega hottie but he's actually in love with Charlotte despite being a bum!" Like, there was this whole level of the characters that I couldn't find a way to hint at well enough in the story. I think it would have been a rewarding thing to go back and re-read knowing all that...but I doubt anyone in the class ever did.

Still, the point there is that I absolutely love talking about my own work and the massive amount of thought that goes into it. This is one of the reasons that I have issues hating on things. Like maybe the Twilight movies are lackluster, but fuck, it still took excruciating hours of moviemaking to complete and a band of really fun people. Like seriously how can you not appreciate a movie more after you've learned that after a long day of filming the cast decided to pull a gag on the director and do a dance-off instead of a battle scene, or after you've seen people with hair dryers in the mouth of their latex creature suit? A shit ton of work has gone into this thing that you call total "trash" which you've judged in two hours' time. This is why I'm an absolute maniac about learning everything I possibly can about the things I watch or play. Seriously, watch Star Wars with me and have me name the most mundane things. I feel like I can truly appreciate the series and enjoy it because I've put a lot of hours into it just like the people making it. And just as much thought.

This is why after Movie Night has ended and I go to take my shower, I often find myself pretending I'm in one of those featurettes on the 2016 Blu-Ray release of MageBoy IV: Memories on the Horizon. They've got me, the author of the original book there talking about how 12 years ago I played a game called Fire Emblem with a friend who would become Jawor in the books and how all of this evolved over the years into this series. I talk about how the earliest elements of the story, that MageBoy was an amnesiac and would be battling a dragon among them, almost magically came to me all at once, and how many of the stories from the series are actually translations of things that were happening to me in middle and high school. I can go on and on about Jawor's massive character development and how close the secondary character Auren is to my heart. I mention that Elysha was once a dark mage named Karin, and how the final battle and its motivations were originally much, much different. I talk about how MageBoy IV was actually written after MageBoy I, and that the original draft was much shorter-winded and followed an interesting format that made It more like the game it was derived from.

I've always had a mindset like I've got a million people listening who are interested in me. Back in Ask Me Next Week, I fancied myself as Billie Joe in front of a crowd of 100,000 people, not 100. I carried myself as closely to Dave Grohl or Rivers Cuomo as I could, not some guy you've seen in the hallway a billion times. I wasn't like the people in the other bands who kind of slogged their way through a set and talked casually about friends or beers or whatever. I treated the 25 copies of Ask Me Next Week: The EP like I'd be able to stroll down an aisle in Wal-Mart or Best Buy and see it staring back at me. And as usual, I was ready to talk. Hell, I even posted an interview on our myspace once because no one was asking the questions that I wanted to be asked. No one was asking questions at all.

So I've always had this persona in me that's on top of the world. It's a side of me that's at home in front of thousands of people. It's a side of me that's already made it, and it's so deeply ingrained in me that I can't help but feel that it's destiny that some day I break through the rabble and indeed, make it. There's a person inside me that isn't surprised by the success of their ideas because they've always known that they'd be huge. It seems like it's an air of arrogance about me, but at the same time, when I talk about my ideas and my work, I know I'm talking about the unfathomable amount of hours I put into it, hours I can't expect anyone to return in learning about what I've done. In a way, it's actually a bit frightening because it sets my expectations very high. I always expect there to be a person like me out there, analyzing every little bit of what I say and finding it fascinating because they've done the same way. I suppose I fear that, should success find me, I will be out of the reach of these people that I would appreciate most.

Until then, there's this. This phenomenon is exemplified in my life almost every day with the things I post on this blog. I always put the utmost amount of thought in them, knowing that no one out there will reciprocate that deep thought. Indeed, it's disappointing, but maybe it is somehow motivating. Perhaps I keep writing because some day I will hit on a topic that finally makes people talk and want to converse with me on a topic. ...Don't pat yourself on the back for being quiet, either! Though I can't often express it accurately, comments are treasures to me. They're the closest I can get to an objective version of myself that looks in on my words rather than out of them, and that is so so valuable to me. Someday, I'd like to see comments that people put incredible amounts of work into on my behalf. I bet that's satisfying.

You know what else is satisfying? This episode of The Last Story. Seriously, I'm starting to love this game. We explore the city and get into various amounts of trouble in doing so. Definitely stick around till the end. You won't be disappointed.

http://youtu.be/haf-uPASXro

Tonight we get a rant! Yay!

You know what got on my nerves in the shower randomly?

Splitting the movie of a book into two movies.

Harry Potter did it, and that was kind of neat. And then Twilight did it which was kind of like "yeah that's not really necessary." And The Hunger Games is doing that too. Now, with Harry Potter it was kind of understandable because it's 700 fucking pages. Twilight was actually split pretty effectively to tell two different stories, although one was far more entertaining than the other. But The Hunger Games? I'm skeptical. Mockingjay's reception by the fanbase was largely a lukewarm affair. It's also not 700 pages. It's not like there's not plenty going on, because there is, I just don't know that it can't be cut down. At the center of the storytelling of The Hunger Games is Katniss' perspective, and you'd take out a lot of words if you were to remove all that introspection. It happened pretty naturally in the first movie, and I reckon the second one will be much the same way.

Why? Because that's what movies do. They show us things because books can't do that as effectively. You can create a reaction by having the audience first relate with a character and giving them a set of situations that allows us to get into the character's head, and then placing them into further situations. As time goes on, the audience will be able to effectively predict the character's reaction to the things that they (and we the audience) are shown. So really, you need less of these sample images the further you get into the story. This is why a lot of the time in trilogies, the first movie is an isolated incident and the other two are very deeply connected and enlarged in scope. That's because you can do this as a storyteller. That first movie is the example, and the next two are free to explore new reactions.

The Hunger Games is a lot like this because the first story, sans some sequel hooks, is pretty self contained. It's a year just like any of the other 73 years that the Games have existed. She goes in, shakes things up and wins and the story is unique because she manages to actually save Peeta. Great. The thing about Catching Fire and Mockingjay is that they're dependent on escalation and somewhat predictable courses of action. We all know that there's going to be a rebellion, and that Katniss is going to be ridiculously important to it. And the two sequel books have similar structures. I won't spoil them, but suffice to say that there are a lot of instances of "shit, here we go again." Not that it's even a bad thing. Well, it does slightly wear on the reader that Katniss only becomes more and more disenchanted as the series progresses, but hey that was the whole idea. You know, that war sucks.

It's because of this similar structure that I feel like the two-part split is not necessary for this series. The final act is not enough for its own movie, and even if it were, it would, as with Twilight, be the heavier, more interesting of the two movies. The original and Catching Fire are going to follow a certain structure, and Mockingjay isn't. And it's going to feel weird. Harry Potter even felt a little weird because the last book is SO different from the other six, which were largely formulaic themselves. Harry's at the Dursley's, Harry goes to the magical world, Harry goes to Hogwarts, Harry takes classes, Harry solves a mystery, Harry faces down some incarnation of Voldemort/someone related to Voldemort, Harry goes home. And then Deathly Hallows was like nope. The movie version was destined to be different. It had to be. Deathly Hallows is so chock full of story that they split it into four hours and STILL cut out subplots. Yet, I feel like the two-movie format made the first part less interesting. It all felt like a set up for the finale rather than just getting to it. Don't get me wrong, I like all the movies, but Deathly Hallows Part 1 feels like "Okay yeah that's good and all, but let's get to the next one," while Deathly Hallows Part 2 is like "Oh yes this is adventurous and climactic and I'm excited and it's huge and that's great."

So the format really kind of undermines the idea of the whole thing. The first part is kind of just obligatory to fit everything in. That "Part 1" label kind of fucks up the pacing. It frames you to go in and say "well there's another part to this." It sets itself up to be anticlimactic, unlike most movies which are indeed self-contained. You even get this effect with Lord of the Rings, I think. The Two Towers doesn't feel quite as exciting as the other two because there's nothing really to anticipate. I think it suffers less because all three of the movies were actual books, and they were all meant to be a part of something bigger. It's just kind of how the format works. Of course, they also provide a great example of how longer adaptations that include as many of the details from the books are indeed possible. I think a lot of these splitter movies are simply afraid of making one long movie because your average audience has an attention span the size of goddamn Chiclet. But in a way that might be more effective, especially for these finale type deals.

Doesn't it feel a bit like pandering when a finale gets split into two movies? Yeah, it's a cash grab, but it's also an excuse to say "Hey look, we're going to put as much of the book as we possibly can in these things so you won't get pissed at us for cutting things out." Because in the age of the internet, what the fanbase says will forever be attached to a thing. I've always thought that was a bit of shit thing anyway. When a movie of a book comes out, you always here "yeah, but the book was better." It's just one of those stupid statements because you're comparing apples and oranges. Books and movies are two different things. Clearly.

I think here we do get into the root of the problem. Splitting seems like a way to solve that whole Book vs Movie issue. But it doesn't work because you still need to change things. Because movies and books are two different things. I'd be frustrated as a filmmaker to hear "but the book is still better." Why? Because I can almost guarantee that as much work went into that movie that went into the book. Go watch some special features and you'll see the incredible amount of depth that goes into these movies. Even then, movies face an entirely different set of issues since they inevitably involve more than one person. There's a huge amount of interpretation going on too because books are generally just words. And if the author stopped and dwelled on the specific architecture of each building in their fantasy town, they'd have written a pretty shitty book. So moviemakers have the job of pulling these things out of little black words on the page.

And why does that task suck? Because everyone makes something different out of those little black shapes. They're gonna offend someone because they didn't get the same thing out of it. The point is, they're not going to be able to take the book and make it into an arbitrary vision that the author has laid out. What fascinates me is how right by the author they tend to get it. In one of the special features on the Harry Potter DVDs, J.K. Rowling recounted how the filmmakers managed to recreate the house she pictured for 4 Privet Drive that she actually felt like she was back in the house it was based on. Not that she'd talk about the things she found not quite right, but still, that bit's pretty amazing.

I like details as much as the next person, but there's no denying that I partake in watching movies more than I do reading the books. Maybe that's for time reasons. But think about it for a second. Other than the obvious "making a billion dollars," why do they make movies of books? Just like, why? In some way, the medium is simply superior for storytelling. It appeals to more senses and allows for a focus on plot rather than having to dedicate actual time to establishing every little thing. It allows for the story of a book to be told in a different way...an arguably more complete way. Throwing caution to the medium and making a primed story is the way to go. A direct adaptation of a book, including all of the little things, would make the book, redundant, no? So rejoice for movies that are different. Because little black things on a page can be not that interesting.

Got off on a bit of a tangent, but it does tie in, since again, two-parters are disadvantageous in a lot of ways. They only work out by making the 2nd movie super awesome at the expense of the story of the first movie and a unique experience. Yeah, making it two parts does indeed make it different from the movie, but it's one of those things that'll sap the magic of the story too. It's a fine line. A blurry, squiggly line, but a fine one.

Also, here's a new Last Story, where we get to know some of our mercenary friends. They're cool people. Quite an awesome bunch really.

http://youtu.be/EFL5PZ4oCjI

If you've seen a certain good movie, you can finish this quote. If you haven't, well, it'll be finished by the end of this.

Yesterday I went on the annual trip to Salisbury with my...well this year it was just my parents. It involves a two hour drive past a lot of cornfields and is pretty exhilarating. Well yesterday it was actually kind of terrifying since my speedometer broke in the middle of our trek (we usually take my car because it gets better gas mileage and is more dependable, and my Dad drives it). Of course this was accompanied by the Check Engine light coming on shortly afterward, which got us all in a bit of a panic wondering what was going on. So naturally everyone gets all huffy with one another, my parents kind of bicker and there's me just wondering why this had to happen to my car when I'm not even driving it. That bit kind of hung over the whole trip, even though several people told us that replacing the speed sensor is relatively simple and that the car can still run fine (though I am not driving that thing if I don't have to).

I was also worried about how I was going to feel a lot of the time too. While I haven't felt AWFUL recently, I still can't shake the feeling that something is wrong with me. All things considered I've felt pretty good the past few days. Even so, I've got this bad, looming feeling like at any time I could be feeling bad again. Any time something feels weird, I get filled with dread, even if it's temporary. I'm starting to wonder if I'm depressed or something because my gut reaction to such pangs of oddity is "I hate my life." It seems harsh, yet I keep thinking it.

Yesterday's incident with the car got me thinking. Add to the above two things a lack of positive human contact. Add the lonely days and nights without purpose. Add in a lack of fulfillment. Add in shaky family tensions that spring up from time to time. Add in the ever growing threat of having to live in an adult world and the fear of failing miserably. The issue is, nothing really gets better for me. I don't get lucky breaks, and neither, it seems, does anyone in my family. My world is slowly crumbling, and I feel like the possibility of something cracking, my father's job, my mother's job, my car, someone's health, down the line is an incredibly real possibility.

I think the definition of "everything" varies, and I don't think it's all inclusive. I think after a certain point, you can say you've lost everything without having lost everything. I think that, quite simply, there are things you can lose without knowing you've lost them. After a certain breaking point, that's it, you can't go on as you did before. You enter into a darkness that's bad enough for you even if the rest of the world doesn't think so. Everyone has a weakness, but it's not the same for everyone. I would say that, since 2009, I've lost a lot. I've lost my band, and with it, a big part of my confidence and purpose. I lost the only girl who seemed to like me the way I really wanted someone to, and I haven't found someone who's loved me since. The fabric of this household has continued to unravel. As of late, my health has finally started to catch up with the overly sedentary lifestyle I've adopted since other things have disappeared from me. I've lost a lot of the friends I used to think I could depend on. I feel like I'm walking on thin ice now, holding on by a thread, to what I have left. To the people I have left, and to the good parts of me that I have left. At this point, I think it would be very easy for me to lose what can be quantified as everything, even though I'm aware that I can't even begin to fathom what it's like. That's one of those things we just can't know.

Yet, despite all this, I've never heard a story about people I admire coming from entirely tranquil homes. Green Day didn't. J.K. Rowling didn't. Hell, even in the fiction that people like this make, the best and most successful of people rise from squalor. Our heroes come from small towns and poor villages. Some lost everything on their way to greatness, and some never had it to begin with, but no matter which of those options is true, the hero was better for it. It was that bit of Hell that made them able to do what they were going to do.

That's why I wonder if all this is necessary. Perhaps you must true lose everything before you are free to do anything. They say we can be anything we want, and yet only few have that certain fire inside them that allow them to blaze to the top. Even with the above, it's true that for every rags-to-riches story, there are five more that tell tales of people who go from rags to more rags. That is the rule, but I don't feel like any rule. I've always fancied myself the exception, for better or for worse. In a lot of ways I think I still fit that description.

It's hard not to wonder about myself in this conviction ever. I certainly don't wish Hell upon myself or anyone else. I would certainly think that anyone who can sense a storm coming would try and do something about it. You would think that yes, and yet I haven't done anything. I feel unable to do something, like this storm is inevitable no matter what I do. I know life can be cruel. If I solve a problem, there five more waiting to take its place. It's probably easier to drown if you choose to fight the sharks. Perhaps that is why I do next to nothing but seemingly wait for the good in my life to keep flickering out. There's both a promise of hope and yet a very dreaded fate in this view and possibly in my future.

This is just kind of a thought I had the other day. It's very true that I've felt my life break apart over the last few years, and that's something I've said often. It's pretty measurable really. What's uncertain is the future. There's a natural born millionaire in me somewhere. I just wonder if having that persona means I can never have it for real.

I'd love to send you off on a pleasant or funny note, but as I've been away for a bit, I don't have a new episode of The Last Story for you. I am pleased, however, that this entry was a tad more intellectual than the last few.

Okay I'll be perfectly honest, this is going to be another rather aimless blog post.

I wanted to write something about what I did over the past hour, but explaining the brilliance of it would require me to share a bit much and that's not something I'm going to be doing presently. If things go as planned and I accomplish what I'd like to, maybe you'll get a bit of the story. Actually, you might get the actual...thing. I just drew myself, okay? I can say that. I'm actually pretty chuffed with the way it came out. For once I've drawn something that actually kind of looks like me, which is neat. I was trying to do it in the style of the Persona games and I can't really say if I was successful in that or not. I mean, it looks pretty good.

Persona has been kind of my thing recently, though today while playing Persona 4 I proved myself as inept as ever at the series. I blame the fact that Superjeenius is doing an LP of the remastered version, which I can't obtain because I don't own a Playstation Vita. Darn. I was actually surprised to find though, that I hadn't written a blog entry about the Persona series. I mentioned a little blurb about it way back when I attempted a Let's Play of Persona 3 FES, which has more or less died a horrible death. I was first introduced to the series through Superjeenius' Let's Play of...well, the game I just mentioned failing to Let's Play. I was pretty enamored by its style, story, and music. The gameplay? Kind of meh. I bought the game back in April or May and was awful at it, even following SJ's LP as closely as I could. I couldn't imagine attempting any of these games just out of the blue, willy nilly style. You could probably fuck yourself over pretty easily.

A few months later, Superjeenius starts his Persona 4 Golden LP, and that's awesome. Too awesome in fact. As I watched I realized that Persona 4 remedied a lot of the things I found super daunting about Persona 3, namely that the huge, mazelike tower known as Tartarus was gone. Tartarus was incredibly daunting. Each floor was generated at random, and there were over 100 floors, each with increasingly difficult enemies. The thing was, you couldn't go very far when you decided to visit because characters got tired or, in my case, killed. That was gone in Persona 4, which had more traditional dungeons that were finite and stamina that was only as finite as your supplies. That appealed to me because it made grinding possible and I need that to beat any kind of RPG.

That's not the only awesome thing about Persona 4 though. Persona 4 actually has meaningful bosses that contribute to the story, whereas Persona 3 had two sets of bosses: Tartarus bosses and Full Moon bosses, neither of which felt significant to the story, even though the latter always revolved around some story element. What amazed me about Persona 4 was its ability to be totally different from Persona 3 and yet still be kind of the same deal. It got things right that I didn't think were there to get right. One of those being the bosses. The bosses are actually all based on characters you meet and later befriend. They are shadow versions of these people, and while that sounds cliché, it's actually a really neat plot device. It allows us to explore the characters more fully and understand them better, all the while giving each boss plot-driven weight.

The best part, however, is its accessibility. Like Harry Potter does with wizards and houses and Star Wars does with Jedi, the setup of the game makes you want to imagine yourself in it. What kind of flaw in you would be exposed? How would it manifest into an area? How would the other you behave and how would you finally come to accept that part of yourself that you want to lock away? These are the great subtle questions suggested by the game, on top of the obvious "what would your Persona be?" I love elements like this in stories that are far too interesting to not imagine yourself as affected by them. So naturally, tonight, I considered in-depth what my shadow and dungeon would look like and be based around. It's always hard to determine stuff like this, since it's hard to say which of our issues is both the biggest and the true issue. That which we may perceive to be our biggest challenge may only be a part of something else. But it usually makes a good story in the process.

Anyway, I've got some new episodes of The Last Story for you that I hope you'll enjoy, and then I'm calling it here.

In Episode 2, we take on a big boss and struggle until we resort to Gandalf Tactics...which I kind of had a feeling was going to happen.

http://youtu.be/UYeZQa_6SMs

In Episode 3, we take on ANOTHER boss, only this time it's a tiger. I start learning how to play the game a little. Also, the british accents start getting to me.

http://youtu.be/eW-GS2Wpduk

So today this is what I'm excited about.

MageBoy? So yesterday. Actually making things entirely out of my imagination? Pff. Last decade. Today I did something cool.

Okay, maybe not as cool as I'm making it out to be, but I'm still feeling kind of good about the idea. I started a new Let's Play.

What? That's not even exciting?

If you think that, your opinion is wrong. This Let's Play is different. If we're being frank, we could just say that this new LP is basically Persona 3 done right. And no, it's not Persona 4 though I did buy it yesterday too and it's fun and I like it more than Persona 3. What it is is completely Blind. What that means is that I've never played the game before. So everything is genuine. Reactions to plot twists? Genuine. Getting lost in a cave? Genuine. Silent moments in awe of a game's creativity? Genuine. Does this also mean there will be some genuine frustration as I roll around not knowing how to get somewhere? Yeah, but the benefits outweigh the cost in a Blind LP. I'm pretty excited about it because going at this Blind means I'm going into this game just like you are. I don't know the secrets or the character backgrounds or fun little trivia facts about everything like I usually do. We're in this together. This means that you can't not watch on account of not knowing anything about the game. I don't know anything about the game and I'm playing it for the whole internet to see! So let's go on adventure together!

And what story shall we adventure through? Why, The LAST Story of course!

The Last Story is a JRPG (fantasy epic) for the Wii. It was one of three games targeted by an internet movement called Operation Rainfall, which sought to bring certain games to territories other than Japan. Those three games (all for Wii) were The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, and Xenoblade Chronicles. That last one SHOULD look familiar to you, and last summer I played the ever-loving SHIT out of it. Like Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story got rave reviews when it finally came stateside after Operation Rainfall was successful, so I'm very very excited to finally be playing this game.

The game follows a band of mercenaries who have come to the island of Lazulis, where they accept a commission from its ruler. They have hopes of becoming knights and living lives of greater respect and comfort. And that's pretty much all I know for now. While the world hasn't grabbed me as much as Xenoblade has, I'm still liking this game so far. The characters are charming, thanks in part to their voice actors, which where carried over from the European release. So naturally, our gallivanting band of merry mercenaries sound like a bunch of jolly pirates. Well, except for Yurick, but hey, you've always got that one guy. So if you happen to like British accents or are from the area yourself and might recognize a voice or two, you might enjoy it for just that.

I'm pretty excited for this Let's Play and I want to see it do well. I feel like this is me doing my part to promote a game that seems like it deserves it. If its situation is ANYTHING like Xenoblade's then you can bet your bottom it does deserve it and we're in for an epic adventure. It's a bit of a win-win really. I do a game that's not been done by any overly famous LPer which might garner me curiosity from people interested in the game, and in return the game may just have its fanbase grow. I'm passionate about telling stories I like, and that's why I'm making a whole blog about this.

If you're one of those people that don't believe that video games contain stories on par with those found in books and movies, then I pity you for depriving yourself of some truly great tales. I have confidence that The Last Story is one such story. I will wager that this will be one of the many stories that could help convince you otherwise about video games.

So here we go, Episode 1 of The Last Story, wherein I embark on a new adventure, meeting some interesting people along the way and encountering a mysterious power. Oh yeah, we're in the wonderful land of the JRPG all right. So please, if you're here, at least give the play button a click! A like or comment back on YouTube would also be massively appreciated.

http://youtu.be/kf0ohz9CvOA

Soup?

By GreenRanger,

Why Soup? Search me.

I just figure that now is a decent time to post a blog that's just a bunch of thoughts. Yeah, I totally owe you and the world some thoughtful blogs since I haven't posted much of anything recently. The caveat there though is that I have been writing a little more MageBoy recently. Now more than ever, the end of that journey seems to be in sight and that's exciting for me so I hope I can at least take a chunk out of it in the coming days and weeks. That would be amazing for me.

In the meantime, I've been feeling kind of bleh, as I've mentioned in my past two blogs, and that's a big chunk of what's been on my mind right now. As usual, I'm sparing my feelings a lot of thought. I'm still pretty hopeful that activity and socialization are keys here, because that still makes sense. As I've said before though, I'm not going to go into detail. It's much more satisfying to do that out loud.

This now clears my mind to think about anything interesting going on in my life. Sadly, it's not a whole lot. Well, my mom and I are doing the whole "Summer Movie" thing where we watch a movie every night and go through all our regular series. We started with Harry Potter actually. Then we went through Pirates of the Caribbean, and then Twilight. You may have lucked out with that one because I could have posted a few entries about Twilight. I love analyzing that movie and figuring out what's wrong and right about it. There's more right about it than people like to give it credit for. I'd argue that. I just haven't. And probably won't because that's one of those things you apparently don't fuck with. Someday...even if it's my life's work.

At any rate, my hope is that this entry will make me want to do other ones in the near future. I kind of miss doing blog entries. I blame equal parts ailment and laziness. And lack of blog-like ideas. And the wimha re-move isn't encouraging. And the weather sucks. And I'm hungry. Or am I?

Anyway, I also came back because Youtubes. The Eric N Jake run of Empire Strikes Back is now complete, and there are some good times in it. Rather than post like four youtube videos here, I'll just go ahead and throw up a hyperlink to the rest of the playlist that I haven't posted yet. So here it is.

I will, however, post the latest episode of Zelda. It features me running around doing things with Chickens and failing and stuff.

http://youtu.be/YHoOIGZ1tzI[/media

So lately things have been alright. Over the past week or two, I've slowly been getting back into writing MageBoy, which is awesome because that's personally fulfilling for me. It's weird to think that, even if I only put in a few pages a summer, someday it'll be finished. Someday there will exist a world in which I've finished it, because let's face it, if I haven't given up on it in this many years, I doubt I'll be giving up on it. That's actually quite optimistic.

And why? I had one of those chance encounters with a piece of media. Maybe it wasn't so "Little Acorns" as "Little Acorns" itself was, but hey, I feel it's worth writing about.

Tonight, after a month and a half of feeling perfectly normal, my stomach started feeling funny again like it did back in February/March. It'd been kind of bubbling up over the past few days, but damn today it was the kind of day where I kind of just felt like pacing. So I was feeling a little down because even if you know something bad is temporary, that still doesn't mean it's gone right then. Again though, dwelling on it does me little good, so suffice to just say I was feeling a little down.

And then I learned that Life's Too Short was coming up next on HBO. I didn't even know Life's Too Short was on HBO. I always thought it was a BBC thing, but nope, apparently it's on HBO and apparently tonight there was some kind of finale. So I watched that shit. Twice, in fact, by the time it was all said and done. Anyway, for those that don't know Life's Too Short is a show about Warwick Davis, an English dwarf actor, and some showbiz shenanigans he gets himself into. Now I'd seen clips from this show online long before tonight...hell it was probably long before I even had that "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" kick that I had a while back. It was kind of a thing that started to teach me about British forms of comedy...how people being dicks and keeping straight faces in absurd situations is funny.

Okay, I still don't get it really.

But anyway, I like Life's Too Short even though this is probably the first episode proper I've seen of it. Yeah, big fan. Anyway, I watched it...partially because we just watched a documentary about the Gringotts Goblins from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows DVD the other day. Warwick Davis has oddly been around my whole life. Though I wouldn't know it for some years, I first became familiar with him when I was about three years old. In case any of you ever questioned my Star Wars fandom, just ask my mom about the drawings I brought home from Pre-K. Tie Fighters. And Return of the Jedi was always my favorite of the Original Trilogy. It just so happens to have Warwick Davis in it as Wicket the Ewok. So hey, I didn't even know that.

The crazy thing about it is that that Ewok is such a cool person. Yet, I wouldn't find this out until I'd seen him yet again behind a Rodian mask in Episode I and several appearances as Griphook/Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter series. That's the thing about Warwick Davis...he's kind of like Serkis Folk before Andy Serkis invented the art of acting with little gray balls all over your body. I've always had a pretty immense respect for people like Bill Nighy, whose appearance would be filled in by CG later. I mean, how weird must it be to put in all that effort acting only to have your face and body painted over with special effects? Of course the remarkable thing is how much work goes into putting those two elements together too...so when it comes to characters like Gollum and Davy Jones, I can't help but marvel at the sheer amount of work that went into those characters.

Warwick Davis did all this before the CG, donning masks and prosthetics that covered his appearance. Of course, in his case he was usually cast because of his dwarf stature, which makes him recognizable in Behind-The-Scenes footage. That's all really, since shit, you'd never know who he was just from the movie itself, with the exception of Willow. So I have a big respect for him because of that. But tonight I found a deeper respect for him.

I figured out that a lot of Life's Too Short's humor comes from the idea that it's a spoof of what life as a B-list actor is really like. Not many people know who you're talking about if you ask them who Warwick Davis is, and there are a lot of gags based on no one knowing what the fuck Willow even is. I think it was the inclusion of the same gag applied to Keith Chegwin that really drove that specific point home to me. It's not funny because Warwick is a dwarf...it's funny because he's one of those people that you'd look really asinine for mentioning. And that's something that struck me. Part of the way through, I more or less forgot about Warwick being a dwarf. I just kind of accepted it and moved on until some other sight gag reminded me of it. And usually if something was poking fun at his size, it was indeed a sight gag, rather than it being point out in dialogue...though his hilariously inept assistant did warn a crowd of investors not to be alarmed when they saw him, and laughed when he had issues hoping into a chair. That was funny just because she's hilarious anyway.

And why is this so profound? I dunno, it just desensitized me to the difference of this particular person. Like, no one in the show gives a rat's ass that he's a dwarf, so why should I? Maybe I'm a little optimistic. I mean, my dad came in and watched it as it was on a second time and a few of the comments he made were based on Warwick being a dwarf. Not malicious or derogatory in any way, just things I didn't even think of. The fact is, when it comes down to it, he was just like Keith Chegwin in the show, only the entire show was basically him taking the piss for being a supporting actor AND a dwarf. And he's cool with it. And it gets called out. I mean, a lot of people react the same way, thinking Warwick got his roles more for the fact that he's a dwarf rather than an actor. It's one of those thoughts that kind of hangs out in the back of your mind. But a show like this, which manages to be funny and heartfelt, proves that he is a genuine actor, and you'd be surprised to find yourself even more interested in him without a mask than with one.

One of the great moments in this episode was when Warwick was telling the clients of his dwarf acting agency that he had been a massive jerk to them and was exploiting them, and one of them replies "well of course we are." I dunno, I just feel like the line was well-played on the expectations and perceptions of the viewers, and that's clever, even though it's a written, fictional show. It's not "Little People Big World" or whatever that show was called. That show's premise was "it's interesting because they're dwarves!" And yeah, I'm sure it was cool to see how people who are very physically different from us live their lives just as normally, but still, it was one of those things you feel kind of bad for watching because you feel like you're watching people for the sole reason that they're different. I mean, that's why all those shows get made. Because mob wives are fucking weird and the Duggars have more kids than the average family. You don't watch the shows because daily activities are interesting. You watch them because it's people in weird circumstances doing daily activities and that makes it interesting. You know what I mean?

Maybe I'm just still not understanding fully the ways in which British comedy blurs the line between reality and fiction, but hey, whether it's anything like him or not, the character's name is Warwick Davis just like the actor. And he's a dang good character that I think made me think in what I think is a good way.

Or I just offended everyone ever.