There was no script for this one, because it was just Fox and I talking, but thumbnail below the fold!Continue Reading →
This is the anime of a song. It doesn’t follow the plot of the song. It follows the vibe of a song, and that song inspired the manga, and then, the manga got made into an anime and that anime got to have the ending theme be the song that inspired it, and the same band made the opening theme, because they had already, in their music, defined this anime.
And damn if it don’t feel like a hell of a song.Continue Reading →
It took me more than a little time to unpack my resistance to the idea of Pride Month. Enough so that I had to first interrogate my entire relationship to the idea of Pride, and where that came from. A large part of my life, the whole idea of Gay Pride month felt wrong and evil and sinful to me — terminology that wasn’t really popular in my upbringing. I mean, a Pride month is obviously a bad thing, right, because Pride is obviously bad, right?
I think in my case it ties into, of all things, the Care Bear Cousins.Continue Reading →
Hey, Talen, you do a lot with the trans flag in your designs are you trying to say something yes I am trying to say the trans flag is kickass and right now you need every bit of random reasons to make it clear to say, any trans youth around that you’re not a total shithead and if they’re afraid there’s a reason to look around and see people who care about their existence and are less likely to suddenly turn out to be a fascist anyway hey let’s look at this design it’s from Fallout New Vegas.
The design is a bit small and hard to see on a white background so I recommend if you get it you put it on something dark.
Released in 2010, Fallout New Vegas is a classic of the FPS-shooter RPG genre, bringing forward the Fallout 3 engine’s integration of real-time FPS combat with the previous Fallout game’s turn-based mathematical combat, and integrating them into a sort of ‘second parse’ at the let’s politely say rough execution of Fallout 3. In this game, which I have reviewed in the past, literally ten years and a much more closely-hewn Yahtzee Impression ago, you play a character called The Courier starting at the point in their story where a traumatic head injury gives you an opportunity to intervene in the existing story with a potentially all new, all exciting direction.
The story is a sort of noir cowboy steampunk fantasy – there’s the trappings of modern technology and post-apocalyptica, but the world that was and its infrastructure isn’t really important as much as it just sweeps aside a lot of options for progress. Technology is chunky and heavy and there’s a durability to everything, where things break, but they can always be fed more technology to make them un-break. Everything has an independence to it, a scrounging, foraging, make-it-work, it’ll-do-for-now technologism all typified with a gun at your hip and your duster fluttering in the hot wind.
Also, I guess, Content Warning: Drugs and violence, because that’s a thing that happens in the game and kinda comes up in this conversation. A bit. I just want one person at least to be more comfortable reading this, going on.
And it is notorious for being a game beloved by trans women. So much so that it’s a meme unto itself, a joke about being into Fallout New Vegas being a gateway to the experience of being a trans woman. And as an investigator of games, I thought I could, this Pride Month, explain to you, why all trans women love Fallout New Vegas:Continue Reading →
Time to time, I write up an explication of characters I’ve played in RPGs or made for my own purpose. This is an exercise in character building and creative writing.
“Is that her?”
“Yeah, the former sidekick of-“
“You know, don’t call her that.”
“But she was, until the incident,”
“Don’t mention that.”
“Why, what’s the worst that-“
“You know, maybe just stop talking.”
She’s not broken. She’s not wrong. She’s just not like you. Unburning is an angry young woman, in a way that sentence simply could not capture. Some heroes struggle to keep their power under control, and hers is the power of fire that burns as rage – where she becomes more angry, she becomes more powerful… and she recognises that seductive risk.
So, she keeps herself withdrawn. Careful. Quiet.
She knows when she’ll need to be loud.
“Oh, suuuure, it used to be all ‘poison apple’ and ‘cursed to be a frog’ but y’all don’t seem to remember when the time came to solve plagues and poxes, it was the witches that did that, jeeze. No respect.”
Hext. Just Hext. Once, a sidekick, now out on her own, she goes now by just Hext. She’s got that sly, not-quite-impressed college girlboss feel, like she’s free from some form of oversight, except her life and education has featured oh-so-much worse than textbooks. Running around beating up bad guys in her early teens, she’s done with living in a shadow, learned her lessons, and her former mentor… well…
… yeah, none of that, not no more. Bored with that.Continue Reading →
3rd edition D&D doesn’t do much with queerness. It’s an interesting artifact of the late 90s, early 00s, where the whole edition was something that, to use the parlance of now, would be claimed as ‘woke propaganda’ now, was still something that didn’t feature a queer NPC until a Dragon Magazine published well into the release schedule of 3.5, and when it did, he drew heat that the editorial lineup of that magazine had to fight about it in the letters column of the next issue.
There are other areas that the game can be seen as surfacing queerness, and I’ve talked about one – the way that the D20-SRD component Unearthed Arcana introduces transphobia in the form of gender dysphoria as a byproduct of literal madness. That’s not great. It is, in fact, uh, bad. You can even have a multiple personality disorder identity which has a different gender to you, isn’t that cute?
But uh, okay, so that’s one way that explicitly not-cis-not-heteronormative culture showed up in 3rd edition. Uh… is there anything better? Anything that could be considered, um, nice?Continue Reading →
What if the prettiest girl in your school who nobody knew well was so aloof, so pure, so perfect, not because she was in fact, transcendentally perfect, but because she was an utter gamer gremlin who didn’t care about anything any other student was doing, since they weren’t pulling off sick combos and trash talking noobs in ranked ladder matches? And you could tell because you were an expert in the same kind of games, and now she wanted to fight you? To fight you? To fight you? To stay up late and fight you?
And you were both girls?
That’s the story of Young Ladies Don’t Play Fighting Games, which is a manga series about exactly what I just described. This is a Japanese story about a Japanese sector of life – about the pressures of school and the intensity of hobbies you wind up with if you have to have them in secret. It’s about social pressures on women, it’s about what is or isn’t acceptable for people to do and how an invisible online persona creates a space for people to become what they truly want.
It is also full of some of the sickest reaction panels of a girl power-posing over an opponent who isn’t even in the room I’ve ever seen in manga.Continue Reading →
Everyone in Cobrin’Seil is queer to any extent that word can mean anything in talking about my D&D setting. This is not because when you make a dude in that setting part of the character creation setting is ticking the backstory box that, at some point, he has sucked some dick or whatever, but rather is instead because Cobrin’Seil is a world where heterosexuality as you understand it was never invented.
And boy oh boy that right there opens a door, doesn’t it.Continue Reading →
Script and thumbnail below the fold!Continue Reading →
There is a nonzero chance if you follow me on tumblr, you’ve seen the term ‘Hanamusa’ attached to something I shared. It’s probably also some super cute art of Delia Ketchum and Jessie Teamrocket, and you may wonder what is going on and also, why is there so much good art of this.
Hanamusa as a term derives from the Japanese names of the characters – Hanako and Musashi. If you’re into shipping name structures, Hana-Musa implies that Hanako is the seme and Musashi the uke, but I don’t think that holds for all use cases of the type of terminology. It’s a ship. It’s an AU ship, as in an ‘alternate universe’ ship, where the two characters are presented in a context outside of the normal context of the anime presentation of them.Continue Reading →
Do you remember Hannah Gadsby?
They’re an Australian comedian, who made the comedy special Nanette, and its follow-up special Douglas. That’s where I know them from. They’re good specials. I liked them a lot. It takes a lot to get me of all people to tune in to a comedian standing in front of an audience just being funny when there’s no presence of a dinosaur or laser beam to keep me from feeling selfconsciously like I’m being educated about art.Continue Reading →
Ehhh this article is due up in a few days. And I’m behind because the blog went down. And it’s marking season. And it’s Pride month.
Sure, why not.Continue Reading →
Well, I’ve been putting it off enough. I think you’re old enough to know.
There’s this anime called Sword Art Online.Continue Reading →
In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:
- This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
- This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
- While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
- The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic
When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.
Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.
She’s power, she’s grace, she’ll punch you in the face, she’s a queen, she’s a knight, she’s here to have a fight, she’s Amaya from The Dragon Prince!Continue Reading →
There’s a particular type of non-arcade puzzle-solving story game, which these days is often built on tapping into the nostalgia of people who were children in the 90s. These games, which I refer to as ‘narrative adventures,’ tend to draw on a small number of specific genre signifiers. Back in the 90s, the two big common threads between the forms were the ‘Lucasarts’ genre of games, which tended to be designed without failure states, and ‘Quest’ genre of game, which tended to relate to failure more actively.
Basically, the vibe was that you couldn’t die in Lucasarts games, and you couldn’t lose either. Lucasart games were always going to give you room to make progress, so anything that could work was going to work, which meant the game could eventually break down into trying everything on everything else. By comparison, Quest games could kill you to signal ‘hey, don’t do that.’
And the game that set the pace, that started the mechanisms for both of these genres was Kings Quest 1.Continue Reading →
Hey, do you know what I mean by ‘this user can say it?’
I want to say it’s a cohost meme but the idea is that there are some words that get treated as cursed or slurs or dangerous magical words that are reclaimed slurs, in the mouths of people who can reclaim them. Simply put, if I, a bi dude, want to make a joke where I use the word faggot, fuck off telling me I shouldn’t. And this led to the joke that ‘This User Can Say It’ was a flag that signalled that whether or not an individual wanted to out themselves in any specific way, they had the rights to use particular terms.
But I’m not here to talk about slurs I’m here to talk about anime. It should be no surprise to anyone who pays attention to the trends on this blog (so, Tab, gotyaoi, me) that there’s a low key anxiety about doing too much on this blog about too many anime. It wasn’t intentional but I’ve just been watching more this year and that means more of this year has been talking about anime.
Here then is a list of anime that won’t show up in the Story Pile, but absolutely Can Say It.Continue Reading →
Hey, did you already listen to the Wreck It Ralph episode of The Disney Animated Canonball, a podcast where I, Talen Lee (he him) and not-appearing-in-this-post Fox Lee (she her), watched all of the Disney Animated Canon movies? If no, then keep going and you should maybe check it out later because it was a big project, watching and podcasting about 54 movies, of which upwards of five were movies I think are any good, and that there, that’s Disney magic, baybee, but if you have then this is going to sound like a rerun.
In case you don’t remember, Wreck It Ralph is an awful film.Continue Reading →
Harrow The Ninth is the second book in the four-and-a-half-book-so-far Locked Tomb trilogy by Tamsyn Muir, a New Zealand author, and to get the box blurb copy out of the way early, it’s as intricate as wristbones, multi-layered, wrought out of several kinds of deliberate excellence and also extremely bloody funny. It commands its venaculars and surgical terminology alongside one another to construct a narrative puzzlebox of regrets and rage and guilt and violence and queer shit and I loved it.
There are these healing moments of emotionally satisfying contact between people who you can maybe let your guard down and like because they don’t have to suck just because this situation sucks and maybe that’s the important thing, maybe it’s the friends we made along the way. Or maybe it’s really, really not. You’d have to get to the end of the book to start to find out what you think. I know what I think.
Now, it is a slight problem that Harrow The Ninth is a book that builds directly on the previous book, which is a book with a very distinct conclusion that leaves you wondering ‘okay, now how does this proceed,’ and Harrow The Ninth doesn’t actually give you easy answers. As a matter of simple necessity, then, and in order to discuss ideas in this book and why I love it, I am going to talk – even a bit obliquely – about the stuff in the book. Therefore, if you’re the kind of person who wants them, I put here, a SPOILER WARNING.
And you may think ‘oh come on, it’s a book with a twist, you can talk about stuff around that,’ and like kinda no not really, it’s way more complex than that, and even just telling you that is enough to make the wrong kind of mind leap at shadows thinking every single thing you deal with in the book is The Twist. Good news, though, because in this situation, oh natively paranoid, must-not-be-surprised, solve-it-first readers, you’re right!
Everything in this book is The Twist.Continue Reading →
Where life and death no longer hold permanent sway, the question that follows is what matters what you do with your days? The Vampires believe this is why they’re justified to commit genocides; with their overall lifespans so long, any threat to their existence represents a more catastrophic loss of life compared to other cultures. For everyone else, that’s a load of bollocks. Whether cries for revolution, selfish demands for destruction, or a bellow fit to demand the rise of the dead, it ultimately comes down to what you choose to do with the time you have presented in front of you.
Warning: Wizards employees, this post contains unsolicited designs of custom magic cards.Continue Reading →
Script and Thumbnail below the fold!Continue Reading →
In the major English-speaking parts of the worlds I’m familiar with (which weirdly, is not Nigeria, despite it having four times as many English speakers as my home country and Canada combined), June is Pride Month. This is because a number of inter-linked corporate interests have been able to maximise sharing economic value by treating England, Australia, Canada and America as if we all operate on roughly comparable time scales and interests. For this reason, June is the month where America celebrates Pride, in the ways America does, and the rest of us are already buying your t-shirts, so your rainbows show up on all our soda cans anyway. Happy Pride! Buy something.
The obligatory response is of course, ‘well, why?’ and not just why do we do Pride in June, but rather, why do we need Pride at all? After all, isn’t homophobia solved and fixed and now we’re just kind of tidying up around the edges? Of course not, and if you’re reading this you know that’s not true, because I am not some general access explainer, I’m the blog of a weirdo who likes board games and anime and has somehow captured an audience just barely larger than a really suspect church congregation. But why not talk about it anyway, in the specific vein of Hey I’ve been thinking about this a lot.Continue Reading →
Pride month is over.
Now there is only wrath.Continue Reading →
Every month of 2022, I am trying, as part of both my PhD project and my all-purpose general game development, develop if not a whole game for game development, a project start, such that I can make playtest prototypes. This is a sort of report of the process throughout the month.
They Were Roommates (temporary name, change this) is a game about getting all your bags in order and finding a solution – any solution – to getting a room where you can all spend the night for a con, even despite any inconveniences.
You ever go to a convention? A travel-from-your-home, get-a-hotel-room, spend-the-weekend, indulge-and-experience-and-relate kind of convention? In my experience, every con has sort of more or less the same kind of stuff, even if there’s an emphasis. You’ll find videogames at an anime con and anime at a gaming con, if you know where to look (usually near my table where I’m selling it). The general mish-mosh of interests mean that even at non-furry cons, there are some furries.
I started this month looking at some avatars for a game design that I kind of liked. After consideration though I jumped through some hoops and put that design onto a backburner (in part because I have some ideas for a different game using those pieces).
ImageContinue Reading →
Hey, it’s Pride month, and so I needed to make sure I really made some fun queer-friendly design, right?
I made a cute design of a shark with a banner on it!
There’s a collection of them – with different banners and backgrounds – but I’m trying to not overload myself with dozens of designs for every possible flag or application. It’s available as a sticker, badge, mask and cap design if you don’t want to spend T-Shirt money (or if t-shirts are weird and expensive for you, or just generally not set up well for your body).
If you want this design with another banner like ace or agender or something please let me know so I can set that up but I am defaulting to just these two because they’re the most convenient for me to make and setting up two versions of every possible flag represents a huge time offering.
When I hear people talk about ’90s anime’ it seems to be used to refer to the early 90s, with long-running, heavily episodic series that often didn’t have satisfying endings, but that was okay because you were always there for the ride. Stuff like Ranma 1/2 (take a drink), Yu Yu Hakusho, Sailor Moon, and Dragonball. Thing is, while that stuff has lasted (and is great and fine), that is the early 90s. Seemingly split in half, it’s the late 90s where the anime making a splash in English language areas took a sharp turn; you got Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain and Trigun, all anime I remember watching at the time. I don’t know if I saw the change at the time, but I do now in hindsight.
Revolutionary GIrl Utena was one of the Very Noticeable anime of the late 1990s; from that period when suddenly the anime you were getting were a bit less ‘whacky hammerspace’ and a bit more ‘you need to watch every episode and also here the villain fist-fights a rogue kangaroo.’
Revolutionary Girl Utena is visually splendid, has lovely music, is steeped knee-deep in metaphorical symbolism, and queer in the way that its faintest fig leaf stands between it and the audience. It’s a fairy tale but one where the fairies are like, the horrifying kind. Revolutionary Girl Utena was my, and many other anime fans’ introduction to an anime that resisted easy answers.
Anyway, there are some sort-of-spoilers after the fold, if you really care about spoilers for a 25 year old anime you weren’t going to watch don’t lie to me.Continue Reading →
Time to time, I write up an explication of characters I’ve played in RPGs or made for my own purpose. This is an exercise in character building and creative writing.
One, the story of a cosplayer who looks like one of the most famous girls in gaming, with a relentless online presence. Two, an overachieving supergeek whose boundless energy got an Explorer Position in Portal Corps. Three, there’s the story of a dimensional fold gone wrong, an accident that tethered her to a time-warping extradimensional supertech, and the gun-toting wise-cracking speed demon heroine that comes out the other side.
Zoe (or Emily, or Zoe, depends on the day) is what happens when these three stories collide in one absolute explosion of a girl. She’s incredibly Online, openly queer, and proudly cocksure. You might know her from Cosplay compilations, from her hero work, or maybe from her twitter feed, a high-volume mix of theoretical superphysics, cosplay, more adult content than is strictly professional and all the selfies in the world!Continue Reading →
Hey, you noticed how a bunch of Vtubers are kinda queer?
Not really necessarily, not all of them, not like it’s an actual trend, right, but…
it’s there, right?Continue Reading →
This time last year, I collected a list of the kinds of games I’d try to play by this time next year. to make Game Piles about. They had something about them that appealed to me, and I wanted to use my platform, as much as I could, to direct some atetention to them, or to what they were trying to do, and I already owned them so the plan was nice and simple: These were the games I’d play for Pride Month.
And Iiii didn’t, or I did, or something about them made them unsuitable, or whatever!
Now this isn’t me going ‘I tried these games and they were bad, so now I’m gunna drag them.’ I think all these games have charm and you should check them out if the pitch works for you. They just didn’t make good Game Piles for me, but I still want them visible for Pride Month.Continue Reading →
Content Warning: I’m going to talk about a Biblical figure who I think is probably a historical figure, but whose story was probably nothing at all like what we’re presented with, and also, is possibly very important to fundamentalist and orthodox visions of that Biblical history.
I’m going to talk about a Biblical character and there are people who find that personally offensive. If you think ‘I’m going to get mad about what he says about King David’ then you read it anyway, then uh yes, you have fallen for my elaborate trap where I told you not to read it.
POINT IS I’m gunna bully a dead king and you can’t stop me.Continue Reading →