In the last couple volumes of Hayate the Combat Butler, we got something of a new status quo for the characters as a whole, while not really setting up what the next arc for Nagi was going to be. Volume 28 introduces a couple of new characters (sort of) while setting up Nagi’s next arc.

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As a quick heads up – for the foreseeable future, my streams will be on hold. My last few attempts at streaming had about 65% of the frames dropped, and that was with attempting to shut down any system processes that used network traffic and after replacing my router.

Part of these issues were what lead to the Lost Episode of my Super Robot Wars V Let’s Play, which I got into on the May 30th installment. Going forward, Let’s Play installments will be recorded offline, and then uploaded to YouTube. This may lead to something of a delay in cases where I run into footage that triggers automated copyright bots.

I apologize for the hassle – I do want to start streaming again at some point in the future. Some bandwidth tests outside of Speedtest that I’ve run have lead me to suspect that my upstream bandwidth is being throttled.

This is something of an unwanted reminder of the importance of Net Neutrality – and I recommend readers contact their legislators in their country of residence to make sure that no-strings-attached Net Neutrality is made the law of the land.

Suspiria was what I’d describe as one of the best films Dario Argento ever made, with a tremendous visual esthetic, particularly through the use of color in the film, combined with the excellent score by Goblin. So, it’s not surprising that Dario made a semi-spiritual sequel. The second film, Inferno, introduced the thematic series that Argento named “The Three Mothers” trilogy, with the films based around three witches drawn from Thomas De Quincey’s Suspiria de ProfundisInferno aims to basically be “like Suspiria but more so,” but it doesn’t quite work. (more…)

John Scalzi’s latest blog post got me thinking – and this started off as a comment, but became a little too long for a comment, so I started to take it Tumblr… until it became too long for Tumblr, so I’m taking it here.

One of the support levels of my Patreon gets you a print copy of my fanzine. However, as of this writing I haven’t put out a new issue, because… well… I don’t have any cover art. I have the issue written, with the main article being a big piece breaking down the “Nasu-verse”, but before I put it out – I also wanted to get some cover art that reflected the topic – ideally of Saber, and in particular something that showed her as an active co-protagonist as opposed to cheesecake.

Except the artists I’ve contacted have not responded back, and I can’t blame them – because I can’t pay them. Not because I have no money… but because under the rules of the Hugo Awards, to remain classified as a Fanzine, I can’t pay them. (more…)

Kotaku has reported that the Trump administration held a conference at the White House of industry executives and various “Think of the Children” groups like the US PTA about violence in video games in the wake of the most recent school shooting. Now, for the past 8 or so years, this had been a settled issue, since the Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. EMA ruled that video games were an artistic medium and thus could be art, and in turn the 1st Amendment applied to them. (more…)

Magnificent Warriors is another of the early films in Michelle Yeoh’s career – made a little before Royal Warriors. As with Royal Warriors – the film has Michelle Yeoh in the lead, along with another male co-lead in a similar action role, and the third male lead being a comic relief character. However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. (more…)

Hello everyone,

This year was my first year in a while where I had no Patreon backers. The backers who I did have previously decided that their funds were better used elsewhere, and considering world events at the time they dropped out, I couldn’t argue with that. I can’t particularly argue with that anyway – your money is your money. However, going a year with no backers got me thinking that perhaps I could do more to provide more for my backers, so I’m making some changes to my support levels.

If you’re already a $5 backer, by this point you’ll notice that you’ve also been getting copies of my written reviews about a week in advance. That’s going to stay a common thing going forward. Since a lot of the reviews I’ve been doing (outside of Nintendo Power Retrospectives episodes) have been adaptations of earlier reviews for video, this gives you even more of a head start.

On top of this, starting in January (with either my second video or my first video, depending on how I’m able to wrangle the Youtube back end), all of my future videos will get uploaded with their privacy setting set to “Unlisted” instead of “Scheduled/Private”. This means that Patrons at the $5 level will get episodes up to 1 week early (concert and film vlogs will be made available when the episode is uploaded).

As far as my Let’s Plays go, currently the archives for the LP are stored on YouTube as “unlisted” – and from there I take my copy, chop it up into reasonably sized pieces, and upload those onto my YouTube channel. For backers who would like to see these earlier, which would you prefer: getting the YouTube archive its entirety, uncut (and at its full length), or would you prefer it cut into more manageable pieces for easier viewing?

Currently I’m not putting that much work into editing them, mainly for the interests of time, as only have a couple days a week to do recording and editing at present (the rest of the week – when I’m not at work – is spent on the Nintendo Power Retrospectives). If backers show enough of an interest, I can put more time upgrading the presentation on these. With the time I have available, I can probably do presentation on par with the videos on Gopher’s channel.

Is there a perk that get you to back my Patreon? What level would you be more willing to pay for some of the existing support levels? Please let me know in the comments and I’ll take it under consideration for future adjustments to my perks.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

 

What bugs me about people who rip into the stories of games which try to tell good, interesting stories but fail (at least in the eyes of the people doing the ripping), like, for example, Bioshock Infinite, is that the language used to mock the games often comes in the form of saying “Games can’t tell good stories, why should you try?”

Not that they’re saying games can’t be art – they know that games can be art, and often the people saying these things want more games to be art. However, dismissing the narrative of the Bioshock games as being too simplistic or too trite or playing with the players heartstrings too much is a bit like making fun of little league baseball players because they’re not hitting home runs like the pros. They may get there someday, they may not – but what good can mocking them for trying do?

If you really, really want better video game stories, then signal out the people who do what you want to see for praise, and if someone does something wrong, don’t just mock their decisions, talk about why it didn’t work for you.

I can’t code well enough to work on a AAA, but I can tell when a story works, and when it doesn’t and if it doesn’t work I can tell why. Hell, depending on why the story doesn’t work, I can tell you what it would take to fix it.

Shifting the topic somewhat – games like EVE Online and DayZ aren’t “fixing” game stories, or “telling” better game stories. People are using those games to tell interesting stories, sure, but describing them as the future of game storytelling (as I got the impression Patrick Klepek​ was kind of alluding to in his discussion of the Irrational Games closure with Alex Navarro), is at best erroneous. EVE Online and DayZ aren’t telling game stories to or with players – they’re giving them handycams and a box of props. At best the cameras will get used to make some interesting stories, sure. However, the difference is that EVE Online and DayZ have the added “feature” of facilitating a kind of electronic “happy slapping” that games like Dragon Age, Bioshock, Final Fantasy, The Elder Scrolls or other more single player, narrative driven games can’t really do.

There’s certainly a place for Minecraft and DayZ, and I don’t begrudge the people who enjoy those games the fact that they like them. However, I really don’t want the future of video games to be more games like that.

One last thing – if Ken Levine’s plan is to make games like The Way Z with his smaller, leaner team, I find the fact that Shawn Elliot lost his job at Irrational Games because of this slightly ironic – at least to me. You see, back when Shawn was on the Games for Windows podcast, he liked to talk about how he enjoyed griefing people in video games. In particular, one incident that has permanently stuck out in my mind is one where he, and another host of the podcast discovered a Grand Theft Auto IV Multiplayer Role-Playing server.

Shawn and his friend found this example of emergent gameplay in a sandbox environment utterly hilarious, and decided to stomp all over everyone’s sandbox. They logged in, and went on a rampage until they were kicked. Then they posted on twitter about this, and got a whole bunch more people to go into the server and continue rampaging until, ultimately, the server was shut down. Mr. Elliot considered this a wonderful success. That even probably happened about 5-6 years ago, but I haven’t forgotten it, and it’s forever colored my impression of Mr. Elliot. And thus, while I feel bad for the other 184 other employees of Irrational Games who have lost their jobs because of the new creative direction that Ken Levine has decided to go in, I don’t feel bad for Shawn Elliot.

With Shawn Elliot, at least, the bully has gotten his just desserts.

This week, I’m going a little more topical with my videos and discussing a current event – Harlan Ellison‘s attempt to stop the release of the film In Time.

Get Frontline: News War from Amazon.com
Get "Frontline: News War" from Amazon.com

So, I don’t have one of my standard reviews for you this time. I’ve watched another Frontline documentary series, titled “News War” which covers the state of American Journalism… only with the last installment, it kind of changes tack with an episode of Frontline: World which aims to put things in perspective with the state of foreign journalism. This is fine and all, but I wrote a bunch of great stuff in my physical journal while I was watching the first four installments that I don’t want to totally change my tack. Yeah, being flexible is good, but I had some commentary to make, and the discussion of the episode on foreign doesn’t necessarily reflect it. Further, to a certain degree, the episode has been rendered somewhat obsolete based on how citizen journalism in the Middle East (specifically, Iran) changed how the media in general (not just American media) handles the news. So, moving on…

The Premise: The state of American Journalism is in what can lightly be described a crisis. More and more newspapers are laying off reporters, the Bush Administration was manipulating the media like a puppeteer to justify the War in Iraq, and when the media didn’t dance to their tune the Administration retaliated directly, through legal action (or threat of legal action), and through castigation by through right-wing pundits like those on Fox News. This documentary tries to figure out how things got this way, and possibly how to fix things. (more…)