Music of the Month; ななこSOS

Time to let out some steam. Month’s first post is, after all, a chance for random ramblings.

Unsurprisingly, due last week’s subject with sadpanda and the historical context of lolita complex in Japanese media history, few people asked if I had certain preferences, to put it diplomatically. Perhaps in the classical sense of having some infatuation with a cute character, but that’s more or less normal. People fall in love with inanimate objects almost as easily as they do in real people, or if life has shown that people are untrustworthy, the opposite seems to hold. In the modern, twisted sense? No. Then why would I spend any time on the subject than what I already have? It is solely historical interest. You know that one image macros, the one which shows how manly Japanese cartoons used to be, how adult and serious, and the Now shows nothing but cute stuff and shows with comparatively vapid content. Despite that image being a joke, it did launch an interest how true it really was. Reading history bit by bit via firsthand sources and consuming the media itself.

From someone who used to read history as a hobby, looking back at how consuming the media of old rather than just reading about it. Media can always be consumed, but events themselves can never be. However, much like when you’ve read enough history from multiple points of views, you begin to understand how everything tends to affects something, how events proceed from one to another. The similar effects can be said about media culture, where if you consume enough media of certain region, not just one kind but all kinds, you realise how much everything has worked in symbiosis, how cultural and historical trends in the media has raised its influential head here and there. It just has to be from relatively long period of time and understand the underlying trends. For example, just looking at the 1980’s anime scene with its OVAs and groundbreaking television shows is hard to understand without first without first looking at massive sub-cultural phenomena in the 1970’s like Captain Harlock, Mobile Suit Gundam and Urusei Yatsura. Those are major names, but only selected few with direct influences with 1980’s scene. Of course, the whole lolita complex, or culture of cute, should be taken into account as it was everywhere. If you go few posts back, I cover this a bit more there. Though I have raised myself a question that I have to find an answer to; where does Japan’s lolita complex, moe and culture of cute have original roots in? This requires some investigating.

To tell you the truth, I have been wanting to discuss this matter on the blog for a long, long time. However, due to difficulty and touchy nature of the subject due to its modern connotations, I have simply pushed it back and back again. I’ve talked about Comic Lemon People and series within in a lot, but never directly addressed it simply because there was never really a good angle to approach it with, and it seemed like time has made it ever touchier. However, Exhentai’s death (and rebirth) gave the perfect angle with archiving and its historical value, an angle I’ll probably stick with in the future when and if talking about the subject. On a side note, the alternative music just to continue with theme would’ve been this song.

In other news, Muv-Luv photonfloers* got released on Steam, so if you’re inclined to continue reading Muv-Luv related media in English, you might want to check it out. It is currently in sale at ~20 bucks, which isn’t a bad price overall when compared to the hundred bucks plus I paid for the PS3 limited edition. photonmelodies♮ is currently at works, and while we could discuss whether or not it was the right choice to call Before the Shimmering Time Ends as Alterd Fable, I should make note that the fandom kept calling the story by the collection’s name almost a solid decade, and âge themselves ultimately adopted that moniker for it as well. While I will keep referring it as Before the Shimmering Time Ends for the sake of accuracy and Altered Fable will refer to the collection. This really is like taking just Muv-Luv Unlimited from Muv-Luv and call it Muv-Luv. [5.8. Edit] I’ll be damned, the official title will be Altered Fable: A Shimmering Shard of Spacetime. I can live with that, and it caters to both people who simply use Altered Fable and autistic nitpickers like me. Sure, it may not be a direct translation, but keeps the original’s spirit with it as the first direct continuation to Final Extra.

Seeing this is port of the PS3 titles, I’d also urge you to get your hands on the original PC release to experience the minigames in their full, bloody glory as well as have the erotica included. I do still erotica in Muv-Luv to be relatively essential to characterisation and showing humane bonding between characters, but your taste probably varies and many VN enthusiasts would rather push a pillow in porn’s face. Then again, VNs themselves are a media slowly withering into a smaller and smaller niche with each passing year, so perhaps it doesn’t do all that well to forget one of the paramount aspects Japanese PC adventure gaming and Visual novels have carried with them. I’d hate to see a beloved media being reduced to mere pebbles, but the fandom could be proud that the things they love now has little to no smut. What a waste.

While I’m plugging titles with cute girls who get fucked, I might as well throw this Kickstarter in your face; Daily life with Konko, or as the devs decided to translate it, Your Waifu Foxgirl Konko. I’m not terrible keen on this translated title, as it tries too hard, almost trying to hit the Internet’s meme nerve. Why would I give a look at something like this? Truth to be told, I’d rather not say, but might as well; the Japanese version of the game helped get over few dark months earlier this year. While I won’t be getting into any details about that human relationship, having something that wasn’t cold and dead like the winter outside kept me floating. There’s a trial that run in a browser on there, though it does raise some issues with the translation. Teacher is left as Shisho, and whole stroking someone’s head isn’t really sexual, leaving the command as just Stroke does strike a bit hammy. The title really isn’t meant to be played hours on end, but little bit each day. Something to wind down a bit, let things slow down and your worries to fall out. The demo’s also lacking any music, and is far too short to give any proper idea how it works, but its something. It does pretty terrible works at depicting the actual gameplay really. Then again, don’t take my word for it. The Japanese fans funded Live2D version of the game on Campfire recently, with yours truly taking part in it as well via proxy, and Megamisoft didn’t just achieve its goal; they made five and half times as much money they aimed at. The Otaku crowd is crazy, sure. However, I do consider this title to be good therapy in the hectic lifestyle we have. Its good to stop, sit down, and a good cup of tea and pat a foxgirl’s head.

While I’m being straight with you, it wasn’t close that this post wasn’t made. Few days ago, I was more or less through with this. I intended to abandon the blog as is, but nevertheless came back to it. I’ll have to make some hard life choices pretty much right now, and most of it is about what I want to spend time on. Blogging takes surprisingly large amount of time, especially when I’m trying to follow multiple possibly interesting news and stories alongside what might happen with some franchises. It eats time, time that I could use for something else like being outside or practicing drawing. I have come to a point where blogging in itself doesn’t bring anything to the table anymore, unless I am to slightly change how I approach. Less commentary, news and popular culture discussion, more personal stuff and things surrounding them. Perhaps you’ve noticed that design comparisons and reviews have effectively stopped and that’s the reason; they just take so much time and are mentally exhausting. A Youtuber friend named Terry advised me to get a Patreon and see if that would give any reason to move forwards, but I haven’t made it public; I know it would yield no real funding to purchase a domain name or towards unique redesign of the and items to review. However, I’m not shutting that out from the equation, but I’d need a real reason to use it. As for the blog, I’ll still aim to continue for few more years despite the admitted drop in quality and content. Ten years isn’t far away at this point, and It’d be shame just to quite when a decade’s almost full.

By the time you’re reading this, my short vacation is over and I’ve returned to work. Sadly, I managed to get jack shit done during this time due to friends having their vacation at different times, so we had to juggle stuff a lot. Vacation seems to be busier and more hectic than work itself.

The death of history comes when nobody is there to remember it

The title might sound like a bullshit sentiment, and it kind of is. Mostly because that is a personal point of view as someone who was a history buff in his teens. With the Internet’s sub-cultures still reeling on the loss of sadpanda, and that site-wide mirror being more or less a confirmed hoax at this point, it really made me think back how little we value history and its artifacts. Are you saying bunch of porn counts as historical artifacts? Very much so, especially if its older than decade or so. While most people will get stuck on the whole porn issue and what sort of porn it might’ve been, the same people don’t seem to consider what sort of sociological statements those pictures were making. For example, the much discussed (for better or worse) lolicon has gone through numerous iterations since the movement surfaced in Japan in the 1970’s. You can see its effects everywhere in the media in completely standard and normal ways, like Captain Harlock having having Mayu as a level of plot device, one of the reasons why Harlock still protects Earth from its inner deceit and alien threats. While Harlock could have numerous reasons, a character like this was surely influenced by the pop-cultural scene of the time. Similar things can be found in many other works in the era, culminating with Cybele Vol.1 seeing its Comiket publishing in 1979, and probably pushing itself to the mainstream popular culture with Comic Lemon People first issue hitting the magazine stands for all to buy in 1982. This magazine had such impact that modern Japanese popular culture wouldn’t exist without it in its current form.

Think what you may, White Cybele has a very classy cover

Much like everything in history, things are complicated. It is disingenuous to say that it is sexual objectification of children, but that’s what many seem to go to first. What lolicon was in the 1970’s and 1980’s was effectively what people understand with modern moe; the use of cute, young characters within works. Discussion during these eras were about affection towards these characters, and their desires. That must be emphasized; characters. By definition, a real person does not step into the equation. The age range of these characters was not defined either, like it is nowadays. These characters could be almost anything, as long as the visual style represented the idea of these cute, somewhat innocent characters and their visuals. The culture of cute is a very much a large component here, and with the 1960’s and 1970’s producing a generation that grew up on modern cartoons and comics in post-World War II Japan, it was more or less natural growth in terms of cultural landscape. Within this cultural scape, a lolicon wasn’t someone who had predatory tendencies towards children or pedophilia in any form; it refers for a preference for a certain style and look of the character. In many ways, the term moe has superseded lolicon as it carries largely the same connotation of cute characters. The historical background is largely the same, and even the marketing is similar. The term is simply more politically correct, perhaps to distance itself from how people consider lolicon to be only porn. I should also mention shotacon, which is more associated with female fans; the admiration of similarly cute, beautiful young men and boys. However, this term too is nowadays marred with its sexual connotations.

To put emphasize again; what determines these in the 1970’s and 1980’s is aesthetics. Young, cute looking characters that are the object of fan affection. As you’ve probably surmised, the Western use for the term is very different and based on different historical and cultural background, and partially reliant on intentional misinterpretation.

This is all terrible condensed, and needs its own proper post before I even attempt to cover the best years of Comic Lemon People, but one thing should be clear to most of my readers; the above isn’t exactly what what the Global, especially the Western, consensus is on the topic. We are talking about one nation’s rather major movement in popular culture history, which has been marred needlessly. Without reading around, listening to the people from the era from that specific place, reading and listening to first and second hand sources, you might think that pedophilia and lolicon are the same thing. In fact, they vehemently different; they are both qualitatively and fundamentally two different things. Drawn picture is not the same thing as a real person, or a photo of a real person.

Let’s assume we have lost fan made works from the 1970’s and 1980’s from the Internet and we can’t obtain physical copies anymore. The people who lived during that era are now dead and we can’t have their recollection from the era nor is there any properly documented interviews from them. Without first hand accounts, we can only rely on accounts that might or might not be correct. Writers may have an agenda and paint the movement in black colours, demonizing it to hell and back. Some sources might not even be in the same language as the target topic, misunderstanding major elements. Works that use sources that intentionally colour history is not uncommon, as history is full of propaganda. Be it political, religious or whatever, any and all events in history has different sides seeing different things. It’s like people watching a die from six different sides; they all see a different number. What we need to do is view that die from all angles and understand them for the whole picture.

LUM IS OVER is probably the best example of cross-cut of numerous creators from 1987 collaborating around Lum, with over thirty individuals pouring their affection in pin-ups and illustrations

It is not a secret that lolicon had a sexual element to it, but frankly everything has. It simply has been blown out of its proper proportions, probably because how influential Comic Lemon People was in the mainstream. Nobody seems to consider the 1970’s boy and girl characters as a result of this movement in itself, unless somebody directly mentions that shotacon was named after Tetsujin #28‘s main character, and that show had its inception in the sixties. Despite Elpeo Ple is cited as Gundam‘s household loli character (after all, she was named after Comic Lemon People, Kikka Kobayashi already was around in the first series. Hell, even Fraw Bow counts despite the character’s older age, but she still maintains that cute charm around her compared to most other female characters in the show. Don’t forget that Lum of Urusei Yatsura is considered the first real anime and manga sex symbol, and she is very much part of the lolicon culture of its era. Aalt, she’s too old for that. No, she’s the perfect age, because remember; it is about aesthetics of cuteness. Cuteness and sexiness do no exclude each other, as much as certain cultures think otherwise. Lum’s roundness, alluring eyes and soft body was in many ways first of its kind, trailblazing path to modern shoujo and even styles, where eyes got rounder and cuter with the time.

It’s not even Comic Lemon People that made its wake. While Lemon People might the one that’s on the tongue of most Westerners when talking about lolicon serial comics, Manga Burikko was its direct rival. Not only did it coin the term otaku, but its main editor Ouzuke Eiji wanted to produce shoujo manga, or girls’ comics, for boys. He called this New-Wave shoujo manga. His influence, as well as the whole era’s, is vividly felt in the 1990’s shows. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is probably the most prominent example of this alongside Magic Knight Rayearth. In truth, the whole movement was well under within animation and comic industry in Japan in the mid-1970’s with Majokko Megu-chan being an early magical girl show that was prominently aimed at boys, much like Cutie Honey ended up being. By the 1990’s, lolicon as a style and aesthetics had become the mainstream visual flavour and style. This continues to this day, hence why moe was needed to surface as a specific and direct continuation. Historically speaking, lolicon and bishoujo fell under the same overall umbrella, with both having some differences but exactly the same aim in visuals.

I had two covers to choose from for Manga Burikko my archives, and this was the one that most wouldn’t find all that objectionable

It wasn’t just these two aforementioned comics; lolicon and loli was quite honestly everywhere with major companies and major magazines advertising and selling products proudly labeling their products with lolicon. This wasn’t about the porn, but again the style. Major players like Uchiyama Aki were publishing in standard comic magazines aimed at both boys and girls all the while he was working on adult magazines. He was publishing clearly labelled lolicon comic in same magazine as Ozaku Tezuka, and they were both doing characters that fit the same exact aesthetic description.

As you’ve probably surmised, lolita complex in Japan is very, very different from what it is considered as in North America and Europe. However, that definition crept into Japanese mindset as well in the late 1980’s and was more or less set in stone in the 1990’s, when the term mostly vanished from the common use. Perhaps the most commonly cited incident that put a negative tone on the term and its proper surroundings is Tsutomu Miyazaki kidnappings, where he kidnapped young girls, murdered them and not just raped their corpses, but also ate them. Moral panic is caused by lesser things, though Tokyo High Court ruled that he acted on his sexual fantasies rather, which of course was directly linked to his hobby as an otaku. The cultural backlash was understandable, but perhaps it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Discussion about loli and lolicon in Japanese context, in even Japan, does not consider its proper place as a mainstream style and only applies the bastardised understanding of it, partly influenced by the Western misconceptions, party by the intentional obfuscation and and partly by sheer misunderstanding. It is no wonder the term has different application nowadays, even when the whole modern Japanese comic and cartoon culture stemmed from it.

You may argue that language changes and whatever arguments for non-sexual use for loli or lolicon once existed doesn’t matter. Language may change, but its historical context should not. To use an example, the Finnish word neekeri is a direct loanword of nigger, but it had none of the negative connotations to it until the American negative connotations were associated with it. Before that, it was another normal way to name black people. However, with new generations fretting the term and its origin, censorship has forced books to remove the term and even candies change name. There is a chocolate pastry filled with cream that used to be called Nigger’s Kiss, but nowadays it has removed all branding from this and renamed itself as Brunberg’s Kiss. The past generations have demonized what was harmless word and such it is viewed as one, even in its proper historical context.

The point really being that I was making is if we lose first-hand information sources, we might as well rely on hearsay. However, when a historian has first hand information, recollections from an era from an independent person, it is a treasure of information that can be compared and contrasted to what is known from the era either from other first-hand sources or official records. However, when it comes to popular culture movements and events, official records are always dubious at best, unreliable at worst. That is why a place like sadpanda was such a treasure trove, because it contained not only author’s own works from forty years ago, but also serial comic magazines and self-published works, filled with fanart, letters, opinion pieces and news on politics and events that affected the pop-culture of the time. These sources are imperative to understand not just the lolicon scene we’ve been talking about, but the whole comic and animation culture of the time. That is only one view point, reading newspaper magazines and other sources is as important as well. Thus, losing one of them, any of them, will impact on how later generations are able to understand history. History just doesn’t happen; it a never ending movement forward. Most of what I’ve said about in this post has been by going through era specific first and second hand sources, some of which were on sadpanda.

Human history is fragmented at best. At worst, it is a puzzle that has lost an amount of its pieces. We should aim to keep every bit of history safe, even if we object to them. A statue of a South State’s general should be left as it is, to remind people that there is history and that it is a complex mess of human actions and perspectives. We should not allow destruction of any kind of resource, statue, book or whatnot, to be destroyed simply because it might offend sensibilities or it simply doesn’t fit modern culture. The moment humanity decides to ignore this in favour of some sort of one truth above all, history creeps toward its death. History is a tapestry painted with fine tipped brushes of endless shades, not with broad bristles in primary colours. Those who forget history are bound to repeat it may be an old saying, but it is a saying that will get repeated down the line, if people continue to be Brutus to history’s Caesar.

Fans expect big franchises to have a plan

If there’s something Hollywood and whatever entertainment industry you like to fellate should learn from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is that you need a solid plan to follow from the get-go, or at least after its proven that you have something worthwhile in your hands. At this point, its not just recommended, the consumers expect it. We’ve come to a point where cinematic universes have become its own thing, despite stories continuing from entry to entry in TV and film have been nothing new since the early film serials. Hell, someone like me could even make an argument that Marvel’s films and series are nothing more than overblown, high budget film serials, but they had to have a more marketable name.

What’s one of the most common complaint you hear about the new Star Wars movies? At least one of them is that Disney and Lucasfilm had no clear plan how the story would advance, they had nothing planned in advance. Sure, the original trilogy didn’t have one either, but we’re not in the 1970’s and 1980’s anymore. The very rough outline of the Prequel movies did exist in Lucas’ head though, something that can’t be said about these Sequel movies. J.J. Abrams is infamous for making plots and stories with no planned advancement or end result. Stuff are just mystery boxes you figure out as you go along without any care. Who cares if it makes sense if it can create suspension and shit like that. It makes poor storytelling, and at worst, breaks immersion. No, not immersion, but sense. Disney had a chance to write sequel series to the most popular science fiction franchise in the history of global entertainment, the series that made their Marvel movies possible at all (Episode I effectively created the modern computer driven digital movie making everyone and their mothers use in Hollywood for all big bang budget event movies) and yet they just don’t plan ahead. Oh they planned ahead how many movies how many times a decade they’ll be making, make no mistake about that, but the content of these movies and what they were going to be about was unknown. Of course, this being Disney, adapting any existing work from the previous Expanded Universe was out of question. That’d mean they’d have to pay royalties. Don’t think for a moment that Disney didn’t abandon old EU just to abandon all needs to pay anyone anything. Now that they can make their own little canon, worse than what it was with the Sequel movies, they don’t need to pay anyone for their stories.

Take a look at Star Trek at this moment for a parallel comparison. Its in the trash at the moment. Netflix doesn’t want the third season of Discovery and is now forcing CBS balls deep into action if they want that series to continue. The Picard series was passed on to Amazon, and Amazon supposedly wants to back out from that series due to terrible pre-screening reception. I don’t blame them, if the rumours are true. There was a plan for Trek, and that plan was the Arbams movies to succeed. Well that plan got fucked when all three blew. Discovery clearly had no long-term plan, and got changed multiple times in direction and plot to the point of the Season 2 of the show having very different tone to it, and the goddamn Enterprise had to be shoved in there. I bet your ass that they took the whole thing into the future at the end of the Season 2 just to appease down people who kept saying that the technology looked too advanced for the time period, so now its in the future. Should work for you, eh? Not that canon matters anyway, but goddamn if its not one of the bet PR things they can market to audiences and core fans.

Of course, if your plan sucks and is failing, you should abort it and straighten the direction. This being billion dollar companies throwing money left and right inside their own little bubbles with no real contact with the grass root level consumers where all their money comes from, nobody should be surprised that they only realise how bad things can go afterwards. If there’s one thing we common folk should learn from Hollywood is that self-PR and bullshitting your way through everything makes big bucks. Just put the blame on everyone else and diplomatically tell anyone consuming your products to go fuck themselves. Pay PR firms to put out articles on sites how fans are in the wrong and how your product is for better fans who value superior products. Then you never really get them, or the money. Licensees don’t want to license your new show’s designs and other small things that eat away your profit all the damn time.

They say longform storytelling is the new TV-standard, but from all the Netflix shows and such, it doesn’t really show. Sure there’s a plot going through episode to episode, but vast majority of shows that use longform stories are still extremely episodic. You can skip a boring episode over and lose nothing. All you need to have is three episode, effectively; where the plot starts, where the twist happens, and the end. All others are inconsequential filler at best. Or in Discovery‘s case, have a two-parter that is worse than the worst episode of Star Trek to date about mushroom macrovirus living your brain and people coming back to life in mushroom dimension. No, it is even more retarded than it sounds.

If you want to make a cohesive long story that jumps from movie to movie, from series to series, in a given time when you’re making these movies and series by the dozens, it’d be a good idea to sit down with someone who wants to spend decade of their lifetime keeping things in leash.

Sure, many stories are very successful when told in parts, episodic and piece by piece rather than planned out. The thing is, they were planned as mostly self-confined pieces that allowed things to organically expand and grow from rather then deliberately set up something, or in most cases, planned to have seven movies right after year-by-year basis. Maybe its just these people running these franchises can’t do their jobs properly as providers and do whatever they want. Well, the result is as it is now, and things keep going south.

Music of the Month; Megalomania

It has been a rather stressful last month or so. I didn’t even notice when summer months turned around, and that I could’ve set this post last week, or earlier. Things just flow at a rapid pace, with summer heat being a pest. Even my plan to attend a convention to have a presentation was shot down by car breaking down on me and the spare part might cost up to a grand with some luck. There has also been a death in the family, so excuse me if this post will end up being rather short and anemic.

I’ve come to a point where I can safely say that I won’t be planning the future of the blog. It was certainly fun to plan stuff out when and how I’d make certain posts, but that’s just not all that possible if I want to spend any time off the computer screen. That’s not to say I’ll just abandon every long-running posts I have, but as you’ve noticed during the last year and a half (or most likely, have not) is that all plans have mostly gone to shit. Time is of the essence, and that is something I would like to spend elsewhere at times as well.

To cover some topics quickly, the gaming disorder has now been officially been recognised as a disease by the WHO. I’ve covered this topic myself few times over, and the arguments and sources linked in them still apply. WHO is not exactly the most popular organisation going around, and I hope this will be redacted or made far more accurate than what its current for is, as now its determinants really fucking everywhere. You could apply the main forms of it to any enthusiast in a given hobby. A healthy obsession for a hobby is a thing, but hey, a person who appreciates their hobby to a high point should now be considered mentally ill. What a load of shit. Niche Gamer has an opinion piece why WHO is flawed classification, echoing some of the stuff I’ve already written, but also going into deeper and wider look. Ryan Pearson’s article touches on proper points, but leaves the whole political aspect out. Maybe for the better, outside some of the internal leaks that commented on certain nations pushing this classification there is no solid evidence for it.

There’s a new Godzilla out there, and I honestly have no want to see it. The 2014 Godzilla was a disappointment at best, extremely boring at worst. As a movie, it was extremely kitch, safe and resorted on failing consumer expectations. I might go to see Godzilla II (I do love how overseas market gets a number before King of the Monsters in an era where too few movies are numbered anymore) and do a short first impression review, but I’d need to kick myself into the theater and get someone to go with me. Not a tall order, but this is also a good time to rewatch Shin Godzilla and add its themes to the Themes of Godzilla post I have floating around. That’s a post that should get expanded, but with what time?

Here’s the beef I’ve always had with Godzilla, and technically with any other franchise that does the same thing Robocop; it gets dumbed down for the kids. Not just in story, but also in production values and themes. Those movies that are aimed for children audience mainly have the short end of the stick in every regard from story to special effects. The VS Godzilla did find a good balance between adult themes and kid friendly Godzilla, but at the same time looking at the series in perspective it is clear how run out of worthy ideas and resorted on their catalog of popular monsters, setting the whole theme of reusing and revamping old monsters in new guises for the future. Godzilla stopped pushing the envelope well into the 60’s, yet the VS series didn’t even try. Space Godzilla? Evil Mothra? Plant Godzilla? Another Mechanical giant monster based on previous monster? I do love the VS series of movies, but goddamn do they look meek when you take the nostalgia goggles off. Ever since I found out the Gamera trilogy, I’ve been going back to those movies ever since, and its influences are very, very strong in these new millennium American Godzilla movies. Maybe I should just cut this rant short for now. There is room for a serious Godzilla movie every now and then, but the rest will colour the cultural perception. It’s just that very few want to make a good Godzilla that took itself and its themes seriously. No, let’s just drop an Oxygen Destroyer as a missile and call it a day. Let’s not even consider its ramifications.

E3 is around the corner again, I honestly couldn’t give jack shit at the moment. I know I used to make posts about it, but with the lack of time (there’s that again, I’m repeating myself far too often) I’d rather not spend three days of watching direct advertisement meant to sell me games I probably don’t want anyway. Less reason to get angry, more reason to enjoy whatever sunshine and wasps this summer offers. Sure, I’ll probably end up writing a post or two if something interesting pops up in the news sites that warrant speeding the videos over after the fact, but otherwise, I really have to question the hype surrounding E3 when it is world’s most expensive marketing event. Hatebait click articles of course would make money, but that’s not how we roll here.

How we roll is with tea heated in the microwave, added sugar and drinking while the spoon is still in the mug. Just remember to sharpen those knives of yours, that makes cooking safer.

And oh yeah, R-Type Final 2 has some 50h left in its Kickstarter, throw some money at it if you want to fund a resurrection of one of the genre defining franchises.

Do gamers hate change?

While I do a lot to avoid politics and stuff on Twitter, seeing my feed is mostly about T&A and old oriental comics, sometimes I do see the occasional message about news that matter or political opinion. I don’t know who David Jaffe is nor do I really care, but the his tweet about, and I quote, basically hating change did get me thinking if he has something there. After all, gamers confuse him, but perhaps that’s because gamer is still a label that is very fluid and doesn’t stick with all. For example, yours truly most likely would be labelled as a gamer in overall terms, but the amount of time I spend writing exceeds the time I play per week, and the time I work is geometrically higher. Anecdotes don’t really count, but let’s try to be a bit Buddhist about this and consider for this once a subjective view.

All living beings have an aversion to pain. Humans are no different, we are mostly prefer to avoid risk and pain. We resist any chance of having us caused pain. We’re creatures of status quo comfort, and if something is rocking the boat, we are extremely vary of its causes and how it might affect us negatively. Change might be the only constant we have, until the probable heat death of the universe, but before that change will always offer us risks, and risks can be painful, be it physically or mentally. I’m not trying to be a smert person, just echoing things I’ve been taught in school and read from books. Of course change is the only thing that pushes us forwards, but evolution of things is a different thing.

Do gamers hate change? As much as any person out there. However, the examples Jaffe uses, Epic Games Store, Stadia and VR, are not new things. Epic Games Store is yet another digital platform on computer, which has not gained much positive press as of late. That aside, what it offers in its library doesn’t seem to appeal to all, but if that 40% users not having Steam account is true, then it does have its own niche and a consumer base that values it greatly. Good for the Epic Games Store, I hope they just get their shit straight and manage to do proper PR in order to do better in competition against GOG, Origin, Steam and such. I talked Stadia previously and how it  is not really nothing new. The only new thing about it is really the better infrastructure Google can offer, but that’s pretty much it. Gaming on demand is about decade old at this point, and has proven to be relatively hampered. Maybe Google can pull it off, but they also need to offer a solid library. As for VR, let’s be a bit Buddhist about it again. I tried VR in the 1990’s, 00’s and 10’s. I’ve never been impressed by it. Whatever the technology of VR offers, the library and its usage isn’t there. VR software for video or computer games doesn’t seem to work as imagined, or doesn’t have the technology to back it up. There is a cultural mentality what VR should be has not met. Outside my own experiences of VR being either a toy that’s not used well, or is throw in as an after thought, we heard from John Riccitiello last year how VR has yet to make a breakthrough and reasons for it. I have a post about it. Long story short; VR needs to advance in terms of software. To be completely open, VR seems to be more usable for research and furthering science than used for entertainment, and I would completely support moving it to that direction.

Jaffe seems to mix gamers as a whole to early adopters of technology, as well as lumping all kinds of gamers into one bunch. This is, of course, disingenuous to a large extent, but maybe he is just trying to rile people up. PC gamers might be tech savvy, they have to be. Building a PC is stupid simple nowadays though and even an idiot could build one. It’s like building a LEGO set. A very expensive LEGO set, with electricity and RGB everywhere. Console gamers don’t care about that, because they don’t have to. No need to fuss about what goes where or if your machine will run the latest game properly, everything’s set. Naturally there are those who go into both camps, like yours truly who doesn’t really play games on PC but still knows few things about soldering and tech stuff. Being tech savvy to be a gamer is a happy coincidence at best if you’re a gamer. It has to come from somewhere else than being interested in games.

Forward thinking? Maybe early adopters, but this is rather out there. Gamers are comparable consumers to sports fans, or tabletop players or anything that includes an action of play to some extent. A video game player probably doesn’t consider much about the future regarding their hobby outside how well it’ll serve him personally, how many games in the genre he most prefers will get and so on. Each sub-culture of course has their own things they want to push forwards and want to see happening. I doubt many gamers consider the impact their hobby is having on the nature, the world wide culture, the people overall or how it develops the brains. Without a doubt they’re aware of all of this and probably have read about it, but forward thinking? Only in terms how to get the next system or the game they want, rather than furthering something specific under normal conditions. After all, what technology and systems comes next is largely out of the consumers’ hands outside wallet voting, but that’s barely making any dent to companies’ policies overall. Who would’ve thought Nintendo DS with its two screen would’ve made such a splash or the Wii would’ve sold millions with its unconventional controls? The Wii U seemed like a good step forwards with the whole screen business in some terms, but it’s library just wasn’t there. Outside some consumer movements and wallet voting, gamers are like any other consumer group in that they’re reactionary, meaning the companies have to research and look at the numbers and consumer behaviour to deduce what next. Unless you’re Nintendo, who does whatever fuck they want.

Gaming is an expensive hobby, and perhaps such I should argue that a forward thinking gamer would consider seriously what he puts his money into, plans budgets and how to put things forwards rather than jump into whatever bandwagon is currently en vogue. Thanks to the Internet we have access to such amount of information that gamers should be able to make rather well educated guesses what would serve him individually over buying into the hype. Perhaps being tech savvy steps in here, with gamers using their existing hardware and tech to the best of its extent instead of just abandoning it.

Do gamers prefer sitting in their PJ’s, playing SNES and eating Trix? No harm in that. The SNES has a great library of games and very few have played all the games it has to offer. Terranigma, for example, was missed everybody in North America and is a gem worth playing, PJ’s or not. If we’re to read into this a bit too much, over analyse it, it might seem that Jaff considers old games and consoles obsolete, something that you only play when you’re a child. This, of course, would be nonsense and nobody in their right mind would suppose such argument. Much like how Fonda Lee found out that she is competing with all the previously written literature, so are game developers and publishers competing against every old game title out there if available. Any platform that has to make games that reach the quality and status of Super Mario Bros. 3. and its ilk are in deep shit in terms of needing to stand up not just to the massive cultural standing of the title, but also to its sheer game design and quality. Games don’t always go forwards automatically in their quality, and a forward thinking gamer would look back into the history of games and play titles of old to gain perspective for modern games.

Perhaps Jaffe’s confusion about gamers stems that he lumps everyone in one bunch. To be frank about this, only an idiot and a hypocrite would categorise a whole sect of people based on one of their hobbies. No consumer group is made of homogeneous group mind. Playing games is just one part of human identity and doesn’t constitute much in the end. It does denote some aspects of people’s personalities that seem to be common across gamers, but even then that’s generalising far too much. However, the current Internet culture seems to think that one thing is always enough to determine everything about a person or group of people. One person does not represent a whole group, and a group should not be taken as representative of one individual, unless separately stated. Throwing guilt on other just because they associate with someone who belong to a group is inane at best, unnecessarily damaging at worst. The only way to clear some of his confusion away would be ignore his personal bias and views, and fully consider all the views he doesn’t agree with just as equally valid with a point in order further his understanding and lessen his confusion.

To answer the question in the title to end the post; Yes, gamers hate change as much as any people do, and even then, there are incredible amount of individual variety.

No one true point of view

Very rarely there is way true way to do thing. Options are always about and different methods to be utilised. Views and takes differ wildly from people to people, which make events and situations completely impossible to discern in an objective manner. It doesn’t help that there are those who would willfully obfuscate matters at hand for their own ends, which in turn tends to make matters seem more extreme than they truly are. At times, this can lead into one point of view to become so prevalent that it is accepted as true, which loses the nuance of things. For example, the Covington kids situation, where media and people jumped the gun based on intentionally falsified information. CNN and other news outlets and personalities are now being sued for defaming these kids under false accusations. After all, the video footage was there for everyone to see, but nobody really did the leg work. This is rather clear cut case, but in case of something the #GamerGate, it is still being obfuscated and twisted to serve whatever narrative a supposed journalist feels like using today. Few years back it was even tied to Trump being elected, and as usual for the tone with things like this, terms troll and radical right. Troll in itself has been misused and misunderstood for a long time now, but one has to question where radical right comes into play. Considering there has been very little actual research and high amount of hot air puffing about the whole dead movement, some of the statements L.A. Time’s article are lacking in any sort of clear evidence and do come across as claims with no backing. If it serves a purpose, damned be nuance and considering other views. If you’re interested in a breakdown on how much inaccuracies L.A. Time’s article has, Lucien Maverick’s Den has a rather exhaustive response.

I would argue that we are too stuck in our views and ways. Provocation becomes so much easier when we are unwilling to entertain and consider an opposite, even if we would find them completely and utterly abominable. At first glance, so many of us are so dead set on a point and a view, and in a stance that I am right that we lose to ourselves. Tempers are lost and words are not as much chosen as they are flung. This distorts discussion, especially when strong personalities vehemently argue for their own grounds. I admit that I take too much pleasure intentionally provoking people and rile them up, as that more often than not shows a person’s true colours to some extent and what they may think of the subject, and to some extent, of yours truly. Often, I must sadly say, it is very belittling.

It seems we should never expect another to see our point of view, to which I would argue that we ourselves should aim for this. However, the competitive species we are, that’s often rather difficult and sometimes leads into whomever we are having discussion with to consider themselves to have won an argument or the like. Personalities like this are often hard to deal with, and again I have to admit that I often end up winging and trying to rile them up even more just for fun. This is mostly because if the person I am discussing with is unwilling to to entertain other views to any extent, I don’t personally see any value in having that particular discussion. This is not about changing minds, but to discuss a topic in itself. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been told off because my unwillingness to accommodate my discussion partner and seemingly change my mind. It’s hard to change mind on subjects you really don’t care.

For media, sensationalism makes sales. Call it clickbait or ragebait, the core idea is the same; have something people can rile up and have an emotional reaction to. The more you can cater and deliver a point of view that supports that audience’s built-in view, the easier it is to catch clicks and money. Of course, there are a lot of those who are true believers in their quests and simply seem to find this the best method for them to spread whatever truth they consider the highest. They do not claim to be the truth, they present the truth. Accept no alternatives. This can lead people who are easily influenced or live within certain social bubbles to simply take everything as gospel. This might seem like a jab, but universities that tend to cater to an agenda or limit freedom of speech largely act like this, and opposite discourse and views are trampled rather than considered.

Naturally there are matters we can’t exactly argue about. Water is wet, ice is cold. Kitchen knives should be sharp, music is meant to be listened to. Plants produce oxygen, Earth’s atmosphere is made of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon and 0.03% carbon dioxide with very minor percentages of other elements thrown in. Earth is not flat, and light’s speed is 299 792 458m per second. If sun were to turn off suddenly, we wouldn’t notice it in the next 8 minutes and 17 seconds. These are the sort of facts we can’t argue against, as they’re not in the field of opinions. Outside soft sciences, we can’t really argue against what is proven through examination and tests. Science, however, is self-correcting as long as further tests and trials are made in a rigorous manner. However, again we must consider that humans will always have presumptions, which we need to be aware of. It is only natural that we rely on our past experiences, even to the extent that we rely on our experience of not having presumptions and prejudices that we end up being presuming we don’t have prejudices, and then start calling people shitheads when a view has been challenged.

I should remind my readers that this blog is written with a perspective, more often than not. In a way, it is a thought experiment and practice for an outside thinking. Even when the two personae have merged to a large extent during these eight years, it still helps me to stop for a moment and consider other options. Sometimes this has lead people to say I undermine my own argument by delivering a countering argument, but that’s the whole point of it. We should considering more than one argument, because more often than not more than one argument in overall discussion. After all, it’s more probable that we’re always wrong and just think we’re right, because of our goddamn egos.

It’s all in the wrist

So for some time I’ve been looking into knives again. Not because I have a need for knives as such, but because it’s always nice to see what sort of bullshit the stores have in for the consumer from time to time. Sometimes you pick something that looks neat, sometimes you just have to wonder what batshit bonkers they were thinking when they began putting paint on the blades. It’s not really paint, but might as well be. It’s so fashionable to cut stuff when you’re blade is pink, right?

Enter Vitility and their wrong-way knives. Before I go further, I will say that these knives have their place. People with arthritis and extremely limited movement in the wrist might find there more useful, but that’s not exactly the whole truth. That’s because most people hold their kitchen knives the wrong way. Vitility know this and their marketing department will take advantage of this, even on the box of the product.

Are they using fillet knife to showcase the smallness of the competition?

 

As you can see there, right on the box of their veggie knife, they’re showcasing the wrong way to hold a knife. It’s true that holding a knife like that and doing the work with your wrist will wear it on the long run, but that’s only you hold your knife the wrong way. There are multiple resources when it comes to holding a knife, like Serious Eats, Not a Cook, The Manual or Eat Your Beets for kids. Most sources fail to mention that the motion that should be doing the work for cutting comes from the elbow and shoulder, and the wrist should stay relatively motionless. Only in fine cutting the wrist should be used relatively extensively. The main reason for wrist action in general cutting is because the knife’s blade has not been taken care of and has dulled. You’ll end up with more resistance than necessary, and you’ll end up trying to cut with the wrist.

Ergonomics is a thing that’s relatively easy to market this way. Most consumers don’t think about it, because great ergonomics is something you don’t notice or appreciate. It becomes relevant only when something is uncomfortable to use. Thus, marketing has a really easy time to make use of this, and claim that their wrong-way around knives are more ergonomic than all the normal ones, despite this not being the case. If you look at Vitility’s knife’s grip, it’s rather oval. Very basic, probably some sort of rubber on it. However, it’s not ergonomic as ergonomic as it could be, as it lacks any and all grooves or shapes to support the hand further. It’s about as ergonomic as your dollar binge knife, because I bet the person using this knife will end up using it wrong anyway.

It comes back to the sharpness again. When Vitility knife gets dull, you’ll end up exerting more force to it. As you do it, your wrist will bend upwards, similarly when you’re using a standard knife. It’s a bit different position overall, but the end is the same. These knives will get dull about as fast as any other too, as they’re mentioned to be stainless steel, which tells us exactly jack shit. Usually cheap stainless steel knives like this are basic steel that has a stainless steel chrome coating on top, but whether or not this is the case with Vitility is an open question. This is also why more expensive knives need to be taken care of, as their build is not just generic stainless steel. These knives can stain faster, but their edge retention can be superior or can be bend into insane curves. Knife Planet has a basic but still decent overview on some of the most common steels used in knives. A personal favourite is mentioned on the list, which is 1095 High Carbon. My guess would be that Vitility uses something that’s similar to 420J, which is on the aforementioned list as one of the lower quality stainless steels out there. It also mentions ceramic knives, and unlike what the PR says, you actually do need to sharpen a ceramic knife. It just happens very so rarely and in situations where the blade has been chipped or hit a hard spot like a bone. You’ll probably snap one half before needing to sharpen it, however. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend ceramic blades.

To get back to knife ergonomics, there is no magical solution. The best knife handles are great to hold simply because the guide the hand right. You instinctively grasp it the right way. This requires shapes on the handle, and this will of course mean the knife will not fit all. Humans are different, hand sizes vary and so on. The oval-tube shaped knife handle Vitility uses is probably the most generic shape you can have that’s still nice to grasp. Round is a terrible shape for a blade’s handle, you don’t know where the edge is directed to and you wouldn’t be able to put much proper pressure on it. There are some exceptions, there always are. Still, Vitility’s claim that their knife is ergonomic stands, just as any. The showcase on the packaging just likes to puts things into rather different light from reality, but that’s the usual PR for you.

Honestly, holding a knife properly is something that needs to be learned, it doesn’t come naturally. Even then, the most ergonomic knife won’t do you any good if the blade’s not been taken care of. As such, the consumer really should remember to not only learn how to use the knife, but also how to sharpen, hone and oil it. Takes about ten to twenty minutes of your time per month, and will make cooking so much faster and safer. Ergonomic or not, a dull knife is dangerous as hell.

On the Golden Age of Gaming

This blog has touched a lot on the cultural and historical phenomena regarding video games and their design throughout the years. For some these have been posts of interest, while others seem to regard the late 1990’s as the pinnacle of video games, despite the same has already been said about the mid-2000’s and early 2010’s. Arguments fly about and you, my dear reader, probably have a take on the subject that might support one but not the other. Maybe you even consider the late 1980’s the pinnacle of electronic games, but that’s how it is. We all deep down know that the Golden Age of video games was in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, when computer, video and arcade games begun taking their modern shape.

The Golden Age of Arcades is established to be around the years 1978 and 1979, based on the release years of Space Invaders and Asteroids, which works just fine for them. The overall Golden Age of Games can be expanded from the the mid-1970’s to the 1983’s video game crash, as this was the period of rapid expansion consumer bases, genres, technology and popular cultural phenomena. This is contrasting the electronic gaming history to that of comic books’, where the Golden Age of Comic books, where most, if not all, classical archetypes and heroes were created, and the medium became a significant power in publishing.

The reason this contrast is made is due to the cultural phenomena usually work. These periods are of making the media into something that is able to stand on its own, establishing itself through various creators and enjoyed wide public attention, which naturally leads into impacting the culture in major ways. The very reason you still hear certain kind of sound effects in films and television when it comes to video games being depicted is because those bleeps and bloops are culturally associated with gaming as established by the Golden of Electronic Games. Be it the sound Atari games or the PC speakers made, certain sound is still associated with gaming by being handed down by the surrounding pop-culture. This era would fit the first two Console generations just fine, and majority of the early PC gaming as well, when people were turning their Dungeons and Dragons sessions into text adventures for their universities mainframes.

As a side note, you can pin point certain era of Famicom just by listening to the sound effects, as vast majority, if not all, developers used the same effects library in the early years.

But that side note throws a wrench into the whole Age discussion, as we must remember that all events weren’t global at that point in time. The 1983 crash had little to no effect outside the United States, as Europe was tightly grasping local micros at the time, and it wouldn’t be until the very late 1980’s and early 1990’s when console gaming had its breakthrough in Europe. This and IBM standard effectively killed multiple computer platforms, and Windows 95 cleaned the slate. Now we effectively have only three standards, four if we count Android, instead of each manufacturer having their own. The story’s completely different in Japan for many reasons, as Japanese computer history is a different beast altogether from its European and American cousins. If you’ve ever wondered why European developed games for the third and fourth generations felt so different and bit off, it’s because they were developed under a cultural paradigm that favoured platforms like the Commodore 64, Atari ST and Amiga 1000. These games look and play in a particular fashion, something we might get to few years down the line.

How can we say that this specific era is this or that when it only touches certain parts of the globe? The answer is; because of history.

We can’t say what era we are living in currently. World War I was originally named as The Great War, the war to end all wars, but then Germany decided to slap Poland around a bit. As such, we have to look at what sort of massive expansion gaming overall had during that time in the US and Japan with arcades and how little they impacted Europe at the same time. It wouldn’t take but few years until European arcades would see the same titles, but the impact rarely was in the same ballpark. Culturally speaking, Europe didn’t produce much content that would impact the global gaming sub-culture, but if you lived during that in France and UK, you probably remember few regional names that pop into your head right away. Now, how many of those are as well remembered in the cultural background as Pac-Man and Space Invaders?

To follow the Ages of Comic Books, we naturally are lead into the Silver Age of Electronic Games that encompasses the fourth and fifth generations. The reason again is comparative to comics, where old heroes were rekindled into new forms. Best example of this would be Mario, where we go from single-screen titles like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. into fully-scrolling Super Mario Bros., re-imagining the games’ world as Mushroom Kingdom with kidnapped princesses and turtle kings.

While Famicom was released in 1983 in Japan, the starting point of the Silver Age must be set to 1985 with the American release. This is also a turning point in Japanese software development, where the quality of the titles began to ramp up. New competitors would establish themselves on the console market across the world, some spinning themselves off from the arcades like Sega (who already had a presence in Japan with their 1984 SG-1000) and Hudson hitting the market with NEC backing them up with the original PC-Engine in 1987. Atari still tried with the 7800, but couldn’t find a niche against the juggernaut that was the NES.

Despite all the above, what if I argued that the Golden Age would be from late 1970’s and up until the release of PlayStation in 1994? Despite the Crash of ’83, the third and fourth generations saw further expansion and cultural impact. The Super Mario Bros. and Sonic cartoons, comics, food stuff, everything that went into making electronic gaming into a global force didn’t happen just on few years. Modern electronic games are still a young medium, despite some having lived with them throughout their lives, they’re still younger than television, cinema, theater or literature. Maybe in a hundred years or so people will have enough perspective to view the changes in the game culture properly. Currently we are too close to these events with heavy bias to go by properly, and so much of it extremely well recorded. It would be extremely easy to dissect history into extremely small blocks, because we can do so. Those in the know would understand and acknowledge all those minute changes that had a ripple effect down the line.

Instead, maybe we should call the era from mid-1970’s to mid-1990’s the Classic Age of Gaming, where expansion was largely constant, new companies and hardware would pop up and die during the contest all the while others would grow strong and established. From there, we are now living through the Modern Age of Gaming, where we have seen the cross-pollination taking hold over the industry and the establishment of the Big Three with no real competition offered in the console market. Further mixing of genres and new impacting titles have been introduced, like Halo and Devil May Cry.

Even this might be somewhat arbitrary, but as mentioned, we’re too close in time to take back and see events as they are. How culture and industries move in the grander scale is hard if not almost impossible to surmise at they are going on, and perhaps the first mistake a young medium as comparing itself too much to other media and let those dictate too much what it should be.

March of the working robot

Ever since the industrial revolution revolutionaised the mass production of goods, machines have replaced manual labour slowly, but surely. The utopia where machines have taken over all manual labour is still currently a pipe a dream, but ultimately it may come to pass, if technology and all related fields keep advancing. The rudimentary tool AI that drives most current industrial robots may seem simple, but that too is mostly a question of time.

Hobbies and industries have evolved remarkably in the last hundred years, even more so in the last thirty or so years. If you wanted to make your own model kit from scratch, you needed to amass the materials and begin to cut and assemble them properly. Nowadays, that work has been relegated to a 3D printer, which simply accepts a model it needs to extrude from its nozzle. This is what essentially what’s at the core of this mechanisation of labour; one man and one machine. This is why some schools around the world have begun emphasizing skills relating to future-world jobs, like coding, in order to ensure that no child would lack the basic skills to survive in the thought modern world. Whether or not this is the best approach is up to the question, but it is undeniable that mechanical workforce is slowly but surely making their way in regions where you wouldn’t believe them fitting in. As is the case, these things usually stat out small and then build from that.

To use welding as an example, welding started out heating two objects and then adding third material to weld the objects together. It was revolutionised when modern welding via high current became a thing. Welding rods made things simpler. That evolved further into feeding a constant wire with protective gas. For some time now, in some cases the human element has been almost completely removed and a robot arm welds as instructed. The human element is there to correct the machine, maybe finalise the product, but not to work the seams the robot is responsible for. The 3D printer mentioned above is this exact same phenomena, and the same thing has been moving towards every field. Objectively speaking, we do not have a need for sculptors nowadays, when all you need is some 3D skills and an access to a CNC machine. A router with a fine tip will always be better than the human hand.

All this is more or less self-evident, but what about work places that require more human touch? Numerous stores have already installed self-service counters for customers to go through, needing to employ fewer workers. Phone service are a classical example, though not all of them work as well as they’re intended to. The issue is of intelligence, as machines don’t have general intelligence that would work and understand. Current AI can compute meanings from library of definitions, but none of them truly understand what’s told to them.

Human touch can be replaced, or at least mitigated to some extent. For example, Paro the Therapeutic Robot made its rounds few years back when every news source showcased how it helped old people with things like stress. The seal shaped robot would require some care to be given, like petting and talking sweet things to it. If left alone, it would begin to whine. Though according to the site, if you hit it, it will learn and cease repeating that action, something I doubt many people would want to be replicated with any living thing. In case of lack of contact with, well, pretty much anything when it comes to old people’s homes sometimes, a robot that responds to your actions does seem like a good alternative, at least for some time. It’s like how some people get a large pillow and put a picture of their cartoon wife on there. It might not be the same as hugging and sleeping with a real being, but human mind is plastic enough to convince itself about a lot of things, like communism being a good idea.

With time, the intelligence of machines might achieve the level high enough to at least understand limited topics. A robot cashier for example wouldn’t need to understand anything beyond what the consumer is bringing to it, scan the products and request a payment. Such robot should be relatively easy to build even with modern technology and would save companies money in salaries. Robots could even fill the shelves, given that numerous warehouses already run on automated vehicles that move things about without much human assistance.

The industrial revolution had its Luddite movement, and Neo-Luddites are a thing. Technology may make life easier and work cheaper, which often is the argument against it; it takes away jobs from the people. Car replaced the horse, and welding robot replaced the welder. This of course always opens new job fields; now somebody needs to make the cars, but the tech evolution has now machines building machines to work. The argument of course is easy to understand, but at the same time technology has always moved like this. Often a tool to make work easier and less strenuous is acceptable to most, but the idea of their job being replaced by something inanimate raises eyebrows. Sure, some fields like medical doctors won’t be replaced anytime soon, though as mentioned, as the fields evolve things won’t look the same. If we want to give all jobs like this the absolute back limit, it would be when general intelligence is created, that is AI which is one human level of intelligence. From there, nothing’s a limit anymore. At that point, not even coding needs to have a human input.

Is this post about personal fears regarding the job market? No, but the observations and discussions I’ve been making during the last seven years alone shows that industries with reliance on hard manual labour probably will see drastic changes in short period of time in the near future. It all depends on the worldwide macro-economics, as such change would need a driving force behind it. As much as some people hate to admit it, both World Wars advanced sciences and technologies in leaps and bounds, and we’ve been enjoying fruits of those labours for some time now. The Cold War drove space tech another set of steps, but after that there hasn’t been much driving us forwards. Well, outside the information warfare that’s constantly raging without us knowing or seeing it. I doubt we’re ever going to achieve post-scarcity world like in Star Trek,

The robot work revolution is not all that relevant in our time, but it’ll get there at some point, if we’re lucky. With all the cuts in education and downgrading everything surrounding it, it’s more likely that future workforce may be able to dabble with their phones more than to calculate how much grams of drugs you should get.

Music of the Month; Rydeen


Rydeen was also used as the battle them in  Ginga no Sannin on the Famicom

This month will be completely freefalled. Due to my physical health having a momentary glitch in the system and nothing all that neat being coming across, there are no plans for a review. Well, not entirely true, but I’m not sure how would one go with reviewing whisky glasses. We’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

I missed my last month’s goal to make a Guilty Gear design comparison post. Mostly because I had forgotten all about it and partially because lack of time. I resorted to combine some of the previous series of posts twice over already. If its any consolation, the GG gets priority, even if it means missing a post or two here and there. I’ll try to coerce A9 to do few more guest posts about Digimon, even when he enjoys being a consumer over being a provider.

There’s a new Cutie Honey show hitting the airwaves this month with a subtitle of Universe. There was some interesting in seeing a contrast and comparison of her outfit throughout the years. Considering the franchise debuted in 1973, there is quite the load of small variations here and there. I would have to limit myself to the largest entries, consisting the original comic versions, the few OVAs we’ve got and the live-action entries we’ve gotten during this new millennia.

I may have a bias with Cutie Honey though, considering I like the concepts and author more than most of the stories we’ve seen come from it. An android girls with the power to fabricate a new identity on command on a road to avenge his father’s death is a strong point to start with, but often the end results have been less than impressive. The original cartoon’s solid though, and so is some of the subsequent comics and series.

That’s the kind of duality you come across with this blog, I guess. It’s something that stems from the usual author/individual mindset, at least most of the time. On one hand, the author doesn’t matter on any level. The work must stand on its own merits. However, author’s intent should be something to be taken into consideration, what’s being said, how and why.  It would be so easy simply to analyse everything as one would wish and have a merry day with it, which makes it moot when we can make anything out of any other thing. No matter literary training and education will be enough to carry you, when the author’s word goes against your interpretation.

This sounds like that the authors matters, despite the original claim. It would be more accurate to say that the intention and word of the author matters over his physical presence, and anything that might come with it. However, the nature of man doesn’t allow this sort of clean separation. We’re social creatures, after all. We tend to feel like we know the people through their works. For example, if we watch someone on Youtube talking about a subject for an extended period of time, and may get an interaction or two. We begin to feel like we’re talked to directly, or that something has been prepared directly for us through the author’s work, and we grow this faux-sort of familiarity with them. The more time passes as we spend time with the work, the more the author in our heads begin to matter.

The Internet has changed things significantly, as we can get into touch with pretty much anyone with even the slightest presence if we want to. It just might take some work, but it’s always an option. If we have a positive disposition towards the author through his works, reality might slap us in the face, or we might be end up used a promotional vessel. It’d be a probably net positive for everyone of us, if we’d just keep a natural distance to authors outside the usual events and such.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but hey, Monthly Musics are not exactly highly demanded, nobody really reads these. Well, that maybe that extends elsewhere as well, but let’s not begin to depress this hobby any further.