Angels in the outhouse

So, I watched all thirteen episodes of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. It’s rather interesting to see anime taking on the aesthetics of the 90s era Ren & Stimpy/Rocko’s Modern Life weird gross out genre of cartoons, and marrying it with the adult (read: mostly puerile) themes of the grownup cartoons that showed up after. And obviously it resembles Powerpuff Girls the most in its art style.

The show is about a couple of foul-mouthed angels kicked out of heaven for their uncouth manner and licentious ways and having to earn their way back to the top by hunting down rampaging ghosts. From the description, one might think that it’s mostly an action series, and yes there are impressive sequences in that vein, but quite a few episodes are about the angels being too lazy to do their jobs. One episode is nothing but the angels watching TV and doing absolutely nothing of consequence.

The series is funny in a crass and lowest-common denominator sort of way, though the bodily function humour turns me off just like it did on Ren & Stimpy back in the day. There’s not much analysis I care to do on it, though I will note that this is the only anime from Gainax studio that I’ve seen. Admitting that means I’m not very hip since I gather Gainax is rather big with a lot of anime geeks.

Some choice quotes, taken out of context:

“You’d better not get fat again, otherwise you’ll need to be good at blowjobs.”
“Fuck, you’re a ghost? I can’t believe I let you finger me.”
”You both need to stop spending money on bullshit. You’re angels, not hipsters.”

Full metal blitzkrieg

I have just watched forty (40) episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in the space of three days. I went to the laundromat afterward and found it bizarre to hear English being spoken there. It feels rather like the time I almost answered the phone as Ranma Saotome.

The series is by no means perfect – it relies too much on coincidence in telling the story, for one thing – but I can dig what it’s generally shooting for. It’s not everyday a fantasy series has protagonists who are basically in the SS, after all. And the stuff on alchemy shows rather a bit of research was done, which I appreciate.

Okay, I admit that it starts quite slow. I thought it would just be some generic pubescent boy fantasy bildungsroman, i.e.  the genre called shounen in Japan. Basically, boy has a quest, he fights some bad guys, he improves his skill and makes friends, and so on tirelessly repeated until every last cent is squeezed out of the formula. But then the fourth episode happened and it showed that actual stakes existed in this fictional universe. And that was it for me, I just kept watching and watching.

So in closing, I must conclude that I am fascinated by magic fascists.

On the Perfectibility of Games

A discussion has sprung up on Gameological regarding the abuse of glitches in video games. One asks, though, how these glitches are discovered in the first place, and what impulse drives their discovery. Whence arises the desire to find glitches in video games?

I would say that glitches are uncovered not from a desire to expose a game’s flaws, but instead from a belief in its perfection. Players take the game at its word that it is complete and self-contained. How, then, could a player not wish to explore this alternate universe? How could they not wonder what is on the other side of a pixelated hill?

Players look for hidden areas and secret powerups because they want to experience everything in a game. A lot of that exploration exposes flaws that were never meant to be seen, flaws that are exploited for ends the developers never intended. Having laid bare the secret workings of this world, players start hungering for even more secrets.

At this point the meta game of breaking the programming appears. But it all started from an abiding worship of the eidos of the game.

Game on

I know I’m incredibly late to the party, but I’ve just gotten addicted to the mobile game Game Dev Story. It’s a video game about making video games.

Basically, it’s a business management simulation where you have to hire and fire programmers and artists and whatnot and manage your expenses while your company turns out video games. The gameplay gets repetitive if you play too long but it’s a great way to kill time while on public transit.

Currently my company is making book and movie adaptations. We just recently released a romance simulation based on True Romance and a dungeon simulation of eXistenZ, plus an adventure game based on the comic book Sandman.

Don’t ask me how these games work, I’m just the president, that’s for the eggheads to answer. All I know is that they’re selling like hotcakes and I’m making money hand over fist. And that’s what’s really important.