So this is the final post as part of Jon’s Creator Showcase. If you’re looking for the previous ones you can find them here:
Here we are at the end of The JCS. I always find that these long projects become equally harder and easier as they reach the end.
The easy part is that the amount of work left for me becomes smaller. What at first looked daunting now looks manageable. I can imagine a world where I finish and don’t let people down.
The hard part is that I worry that I might try to speed through. What you, the audience, aren’t seeing is that I started this project in mid-August and I’m finishing it on Aug. 30. I could have already finished, but I put it off and didn’t work as hard as I probably should have.
Now I’m left with 10 posts that need me to be as good as my worst day, because I owe it to these folks as well.
I also feel a little sad finishing it up. There is something bittersweet about a long project coming to the end, but I probably should finish before I bring that up.
So let’s go.
I’ve found in the last five years that I’ve come to really like playing video games. See I grew up in the era when you had to have dedication and mad skillz to beat video games. Somewhere along the way developers made games for fat-fingered people like me.
I feel like I missed several video game series out of fear that I would get stuck or because I would rather spend my money on anime.
Paper Mario and Mario RPG is one of those series. I appreciate Adventure Rules’ discussion of how the The Origami King utilizes its overworld.
I wonder if the creators were trying to build an emotional beat by having you restore the world, and then giving you rewards for doing it. One of the aspects of The Witcher that I really loved was that the side quests had emotional resonance. That isn’t easy to do with a series of perhaps three to five story beats in a side quest, but it managed to do it.
So we go from game design to games and relationships.
Wait. I was drawn in by RNG’s clickbait title about video games making him hate his wife.
Is he talking about about fridging? Yes. Yes he is.
For people who don’t know, fridging is when the main character’s wife or girlfriend is killed to provide motivation for the main character. The term comes from a 1994 Green Lantern comic when Hal Jordan came home and found his girlfriend cut up and put into the fridge.
While it is normally associated with a violent death, I also include any time a male character is motivated by the death of a woman in a way that isn’t really story-driven. Sure. There are stories like Firewatch where the death does serve the story, but there are more stories like Super Mario where the Princess is just a meaningless prize meant to be won.
He does raise a couple of interesting questions. The most important being whether the main character in a game is supposed to be a self-insert. I don’t think that is a clear answer. There are games like The Last of Us where the main character is definitely not supposed to be our creation. We are an accomplice in the actions of others in those games.
For games like Skyrim, we are certainly meant to shape our character around how we want to engage with the world. But we are much more active in how those decisions are made.
Then there are games like the aforementioned Super Mario, or even Chrono Trigger, where the story is already predestined, but we aren’t given much in the way of personality to get in the way of us and the inserting ourselves as the hero.
I’m not sure it really matters for his main point, but it’s an interesting idea as games have increasingly complex characters and stories.
Does anyone else remember Space Quest. Not the movie, but the Sierra puzzle games that were all a bit of tongue-in-cheek.
I always felt that they were tongue-in-cheek as a way of covering up the lackluster graphics of the time. It looked like the funny pages, so giving it a sense of silly humor was a way of deflecting potential criticisms and a way of poking at the super serious puzzle games of the time. (I’m looking at you Shadow of the Comet.)
All of this is to say that the art in Last of Us Part 2 really is beautiful. Gaming Omnivore did a good job of collecting some great screenshots from it.
I wonder if we will ever move to a time when graphics actually reach real life levels. Will we see actors come back from the dead through the magic of computer programming and with the help of other actors.
Here is another of my pop culture failings. I’ve only ever played the original Zelda. (See my earlier commend about hard video games.)
What I appreciate about Zelda though is that through an overriding vision and a devoted fanbase, I know more about Zelda’s design and lore than any other game I’ve never played.
This is all a long way of saying that Zelda is The Girl’s passion in talking about the best dungeons is palpable. I don’t really have a frame of reference, because the closest I’ve gotten to Zelda in 30 years has been playing Moonlighter.
Though, that is a good game.
So we move from Zelda to coping with loss.
I’m hardly in a place to put myself in Ace Asunder’s position. She ended up ending a relationship with her Best Friend, and it ended up hurting her mental health and leaving her in a dark place. While I do think grief and suffering is a personal thing, and no solution fits everyone, I do think it’s worth listening to others stories when they share them.
At the very least, it gives us a chance to see the world from someone else’s point of view. We should all do that more.
Also if you need help, please get it. Everything might look like crap right now, but it won’t be that way forever. I promise.
A long time ago, I read a Hitchcock magazine story where a traveling salesman comes to town and plants the seeds of doubt and distrust. The person’s actions destroy a family.
I remember being chilled to my core.
The story of the stranger who comes into town and exposes a community’s flaws and skeletons is nothing new, but it’s also can be chilling and fascinating as we see the veneer of civilization stripped away. That is what it seems that Girl from Nowhere does.
Inks of Midnight talks about the Thai live-action drama in this post, and after I finish watching some other stuff I might give it a go.
Have a look.
Now we turn to The Review Heap, and what is one of my favorite over-the-top Hong Kong (or American) action inspired series ever created – Black Lagoon.
I love that series.
I always cringe a little when people say that they feel a character is realistic. It’s reflexive for me to start looking for the seams. Fiction, by it’s nature, is heightened reality.
Black Lagoon doesn’t try to pretend it is realistic. We see our heroes jump a boat into a helicopter and that is the tone of the series. That said, the struggles the characters go through feels real. I don’t get the feeling like the hand of the author is dictating their actions, or they need to do things to sell toys.
When the characters interact in this shadow world it feels realistic.
I realize that I’ve spent this long waiting and I haven’t talked about Ashley Capes’ post at The Review Heap that inspired this post.
Go check it out.
OK. I like midnight snacks, and I like the the YouTube channel Midnight Snacks.
Like I said earlier, I do find that it’s hard to talk about an entire YouTube channel. I clicked on her most recent video and it starts with Shrimp chips, and are those chips made out of shrimp or flavored by shrimp?
I also appreciate other people who like Kurama, who was my favorite character outside of Yusuke in Yu Yu Hakusho.
It kind of makes me want to go back to watch that show again.
This is the video game portion of the list it seems. As we moved further on in time, I ended up having more and more posts that ventured out of the traditional anime posts and into video games.
That is fine. I like talking about video games.
Robot Heart Beat came up with an interesting list of Comfort Food Games. As I was thinking about it, I was having a hard time coming up with my list.
I mean there are old stand-bys like Morrowind. I have put more than 80 hours into that game and never finished it. I love it because it’s just so open ended.
Then there is a list of my favorite rogue-lites — Dead Cells, Everspace, Moonlighter and Void Bastards. These are games I can just turn on, play a run and then turn off. I don’t ever feel committed to finishing them, but playing a run is a good way to just shut off and let myself relax.
Then there is Bioshock Infinite,No Man’s Sky, X3: Terran Conflict, or a half dozen other games that I turn on when I just feel like I’m in the mood. I have a feeling that Battletech is going to be another one of those.
OK, before this turns into me just talking about my favorite games, let’s move on to something else.
We are closing out talking about another of my favorite video game franchises, The Witcher. In particular, my personal favorite game The Witcher 3.
I think AmbiGamingCorner does a fantastic job of detailing both the fundamental problem of romance in video games and the ways that The Witcher 3 sidesteps that.
The talk about the problem reminded me of what I did in Fable 3. I spent the game romancing all of the flirty women just so I could go through the funny sex scenes. The romance in those games largely boils down to a series of minigames. I think even in the more mature depictions of these relationships, they still boil down a a minigame.
That is where Wtcher 3 is different. The romance is a choice by the player, but it’s not a quest. Even more interesting, you really need to choose Triss, otherwise Yennefer seems to be the “default” choice.
I think it says a lot about both Geralt and Yennefer that they are the default relationship, and Triss has to be a choice.
To be fair, I chose Yennefer. I think that probably says more about me than it does about Geralt.
Well that is it. There is The JCS in all of it’s glory. You’ll be getting one more post tomorrow when I put all of this together into a single post.
Thank you for everyone who participated and I hope that you enjoyed it.